A dispute over whether $600,000 was a loan or a gift from a lottery winner has been settled by the British Columbia Court of Appeal in favour of the gambler.
Enone Rosas won $4.1 million in a lottery in 2007 and loaned the $600,000 to her friend Hermenisabel Toca so she could buy a home.
A lower court judge had determined the loan was to be paid back without interest in a year, but Rosas didn’t sue for seven years and the B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled the time limit had run out to force the money’s return.
But that verdict was overturned in a unanimous decision posted Wednesday from the three appeal judges who ruled that every time Toca told Rosas she would pay her back next year, that extended the time for repaying.
Toca stopped asking for the extensions in 2013, which the court says was well within the six-year limit of filing legal action.
Writing for the panel, Chief Justice Robert Bauman said in the ruling that when parties vary terms, that change should be enforceable and he ordered Toca to repay the money, plus interest.
“It has been famously said that ‘hard cases make bad law.’ Sometimes, however, hard cases make new law,” Bauman said in the ruling. “Or, at least, they very much encourage the court to do so lest we give credence to Mr. Bumble’s lament in Oliver Twist: ‘If the law supposes that … the law is a ass.’ “
The Canadian Press