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WILLIAM MADARA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/10/74)

decided: May 10, 1974.

WILLIAM MADARA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, ROBERT P. KANE, SECRETARY OF REVENUE, DEFENDANT



Original jurisdiction in case of William Madara v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Robert P. Kane, Secretary of Revenue.

COUNSEL

Stephen Cohen, for plaintiff.

Raymond Kleiman, Deputy Attorney General, with him Israel Packel, Attorney General, for defendant.

President Judge Bowman, and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Kramer. Judges Rogers and Blatt join in this dissent.

Author: Mencer

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 434]

William Madara (Madara) purchased a 50-cent Pennsylvania lottery ticket, No. 921746, with a drawing date of June 14, 1972. Thereafter, his wallet containing the ticket and other valuables was mislaid and not recovered until June 16, 1973, at which time the lottery ticket was presented to the Bureau of State Lotteries as a prize claim. On June 22, 1973, the Bureau denied Madara's claim.

Madara filed a complaint in mandamus to compel Robert Kane, Secretary of Revenue,*fn1 to honor lottery ticket No. 921746 as a winning ticket and alleged damages in the amount of $1 million. The defendant filed preliminary objections to the complaint in mandamus, a part of which was a demurrer asserting that Madara failed to state a cause of action.

An examination of the complaint*fn2 discloses that in pertinent part Madara merely (1) identifies the parties to the suit, (2) asserts purchase and ownership of the

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 435]

    lottery ticket, (3) alleges mislaying the ticket (inferentially because of the flood Agnes), (4) relates finding and presenting the ticket for claim to the Bureau (1 year and 2 days after the drawing date), and (5) states a denial of the claim by virtue of which he contends he suffered damages.

The complaint does not allege that Madara's ticket number was selected as a winner at the drawing of June 14, 1972 or any other drawing, although such is implied by his presenting it subsequently as a prize claim. A literal reading of Madara's complaint would indicate that the purchase of a lottery ticket and its presentation to the Bureau of State Lotteries, coupled with the Bureau's denial, would result in damages to the owner of the ticket. Thus, the defendant's preliminary objection that the plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action has merit here.

However, both parties urge us to interpret Section 14 of the State Lottery Law,*fn3 72 P.S. ยง 3761-14, which reads: "Unclaimed prize money on a winning lottery ticket or share shall be retained by the secretary for payment to the person entitled thereto for one year after the drawing in which the prize was won. If no claim is made within such period, the prize money shall be paid into the State Lottery Fund and used for purposes as otherwise herein provided."

We are here confronted with a drawing held on June 14, 1972 and a lottery ticket presented for a prize claim on June 16, 1973. For our consideration of the question raised in this appeal, it matters not whether ...


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