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Stepp v. Freeman

Ohio Court of Appeals
694 N.E.2d 792 (1997)


Facts

Lionel Stepp (plaintiff) and Donald Freeman (defendant) were co-workers and members of a group of 20 fellow employees in a weekly lottery pool. The group had regularly purchased lottery tickets for over five years and although there were no written rules about how the group functioned, there were established patterns of conduct. In fact, there was a waiting list of employees wanting to be added to the group. Freeman was the organizer of the group. He kept a list of the members on a card and informed the members when the lottery reached $8 million and tickets would be purchased. Each member contributed $2.20 to the pool and, sometimes, a member would cover another group member’s payment if that employee was on vacation or sick. No member had ever been unilaterally removed from the group by Freeman for failure to timely pay his or her share. After Freeman and Stepp had a serious work-related argument, Freeman did not ask for Stepp’s $2.20 ticket-buying share the following week. Freeman also did not inform Stepp that the lottery had reached $8 million and that the group was going to purchase tickets. The group won the lottery that week but Stepp was denied his share by Freeman because he had not paid. Stepp filed suit against Freeman for breach of express contract, breach of implied contract, and equitable estoppel. A magistrate found in favor of Stepp and a trial court concurred with the findings. Freeman appealed.  

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