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Meyer v. Hawkinson

Supreme Court of North Dakota
626 N.W.2d 262 (2001)


Facts

Clyde Meyer (plaintiff) went on vacation in Canada with Donald Hawkinson (defendant). Hawkinson purchased a lottery ticket, and Meyer purchased three lottery tickets. Meyer and Hawkinson agreed to share any proceeds from the tickets. Hawkinson’s ticket won $1.2 million. Hawkinson declined to share the proceeds with Meyer. Meyer brought suit in North Dakota district court to enforce the agreement with Hawkinson. North Dakota law largely prohibited lotteries in the state, except for charitable purposes. Specifically, North Dakota prohibited the sale, purchase, receipt, or transfer of a chance to win a lottery, regardless of where the lottery was drawn and regardless of the lottery’s legality in the forum in which it was drawn. The district court granted Hawkinson summary judgment, finding as a matter of law that the contract was unenforceable as against the public policy. Meyer appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kapsner, J.)

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Dissent (Sandstrom, J.)

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