Q: What is the status of the Fun 5’s Lawsuit?
A: The Fun 5’s Lawsuit against GTECH, Inc. (now known as IGT) is currently pending before the Texas Supreme Court. GTECH argued in the trial court that it is immune from suit for fraud because it was working for the Texas Lottery Commission. The lottery players argued that GTECH is not above the law and should be held liable for fraud because it printed wording on the Fun 5’s Lottery Ticket that misled over one thousand Texas lottery players into believing that they would win five times the amount in the ticket’s Prize Box if the ticket they purchased revealed a Money Bag symbol.
The trial court in Austin rejected GTECH’s argument. The Austin Court of Appeals also rejected GTECH’s argument and issued a detailed opinion which held that GTECH could be sued for its alleged fraud.
GTECH filed a Petition for Review in which it asked the Texas Supreme Court to review the Austin Court of Appeals’ ruling.
Briefs on the merits have been filed by both sides. A “study memo” summarizing the arguments and applicable law has been circulated to all the Justices. We are now waiting for a decision from the Court.
It is likely we will have an order from the Court by June 30, 2019. The Court issues its Orders on Fridays at 9 am. You can check the latest orders from the Court at the Texas Supreme Court’s Orders & Opinions webpage.
The Court will likely issue one of two orders. It could issue an order denying GTECH’s Petition for Review or it could decide to hear the appeal.
If the Court’s order denies GTECH’s Petition for Review, the case will be sent back to the trial court in Austin for further proceedings and trial.
If the Court decides to hear the appeal, the Court will likely schedule oral arguments in the Fall of 2019 or possibly even the beginning of 2020.
At oral argument the lawyers will appear before the Court and make their arguments, which usually last about an hour. There are no witnesses. The arguments consist of the lawyers explaining their legal positions and of the justices asking questions. By the time of the argument, the Justices will have read all the papers. Some of the justices will have questions they want answered about issues they believe to be important. The arguments will be recorded by video and posted on the Supreme Court’s website within a few days so that anyone can see them shortly after they occur. Then after the argument, The Justices will meet to vote on how the case should be decided and an opinion will be prepared. We will not know the result of their vote until the opinion is issued.
The court strives to issue opinions for every case that it hears before the end of that term, which means that if the court orders oral arguments in the case, it will likely issue an opinion before June 30, 2020.