$560M Lottery Winner Can Remain Anonymous

Judge rules in Jane Doe's favor
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 12, 2018 1:59 PM CDT
New Hampshire Lottery executive director Charles McIntyre, left, and Bill Shaheen of Shaheen and Gordon law firm answer questions concerning the woman who wants to remain anonymous after winning the Powerball...   (Geoff Forester/The Concord Monitor via AP)

(Newser) – A judge ruled Monday that a New Hampshire woman who won a Powerball jackpot worth nearly $560 million can keep her identity private, but not her hometown, the AP reports. Judge Charles Temple noted that the case's resolution rested on application of the state's Right-to-Know law, which governs access to public records for the woman. She was identified as "Jane Doe" in a lawsuit against the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. Temple wrote he had "no doubts whatsoever that should Ms. Doe's identity be revealed, she will be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation, and other unwanted communications." He said she met her burden of showing that her privacy interest outweighs the public's interest in disclosing her name in the nation's eighth-largest jackpot.

However, Temple noted that nothing in his order could be interpreted to prevent the lottery commission or its employees from "processing, maintaining, or accessing Ms. Doe's ticket in the normal course of business." The woman signed her ticket after the Jan. 6 drawing, but later learned from lawyers that she could have shielded her identity by writing the name of a trust. They said she was upset after learning she was giving up her anonymity by signing the ticket—something the lottery commission acknowledged isn't spelled out on the ticket, but is detailed on its website. Temple found that the commission's argument that revealing her name to ensure the public she's a "bona fide" lottery participant and "real" winner was not persuasive, because a trustee claiming a prize on someone's behalf is certainly not a "bona fide" participant or a "real" winner. (Here's what Doe is doing with the money.)

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