16:58, March 13 292 0 abajournal.com

2018-03-13 16:58:07
Revealing identity of $560M Powerball winner would be invasion of privacy, judge rules

A New Hampshire judge has ruled that a woman who won $560 million in a Powerball jackpot is entitled to keep her identity secret.

Hillborough County Judge Charles Temple ruled Monday that requiring the woman to reveal her name would be an invasion of privacy, report the Washington Post, the New York Times, the New Hampshire Union Leader and Courthouse News Service.

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission had argued it would be required to disclose the woman’s name if a request were made under the state’s open records law. Temple ruled the woman’s identity was shielded from disclosure under the law’s exemption for invasion of privacy.

He cited difficulties faced by past lottery winners that included “repeated solicitation, harassment, and even violence.” He also noted that the law firm representing the woman, Shaheen & Gordon, “has been bombarded with solicitations from various individuals seeking to capitalize on her winnings.”

Temple said the woman’s hometown could be revealed; it is Merrimack, New Hampshire – about 50 miles northwest of Boston.

The woman had said in a Jan. 29 lawsuit that she was following the direction of the lottery commission when she wrote her name on the back of the ticket. She later hired a lawyer and learned she could have stayed anonymous by creating a trust and signing the ticket in the trust name.

The lottery commission had argued that revealing the woman’s name would help the public see that the lottery system is operating on the level. Temple said the argument is undercut by the fact that the woman could have kept her name a secret by using the trust name to collect.

The woman has already received an after-tax payout of $264 million.