SEARCY, Ark. (AP & KLRT) - A lawsuit over who owns a $1 million scratch-off Arkansas lottery ticket that a woman pulled from a convenience store trash can was settled out of court, a defense attorney said Friday.
Jury selection was set to begin Friday in White County for a trial to decide who should keep the winnings from the "Diamond Dazzler" ticket that Sharon Duncan bought in July 2011 at a convenience store in Beebe, about 35 miles northeast of Little Rock. Duncan said she threw away the ticket after a scanner said it wasn't a winner, and Sharon Jones pulled the ticket from the trash and claimed the jackpot.
Lisa Petriches, the convenience store's manager, sued Jones, claiming Jones illegally took the ticket from the bin that had been marked "Do not take." Duncan joined the lawsuit after a judge determined she might be the true owner of the ticket.
Jones' attorney Jimmy Simpson said a settlement was reached Friday. Simpson told The Daily Citizen the terms of the settlement were confidential and sealed but Jones was pleased with the outcome.
"I feel like a thousand pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders," Jones told Fox16 News reporter Hubert Tate.
The Jones family says it is working with their lawyer to figure out what they are allowed to speak about.
"Trust me, when we do get the green light to say what we wanna say, that's when the interview is going to get really good," said Sharon's husband, William.
The Jones family told The Associated Press earlier this year that $490,000 remained from the jackpot when the suit was filed. That was after they spent $190,000 and $320,000 was taken out for taxes.
A judge ruled in favor of Duncan earlier this year, but he later ordered a new trial and said he wouldn't preside over it. The second trial was set to begin next week.
"As you get closer to a trial and this all starts to take shape, it's amazing what happens on the courthouse steps," Simpson said.
Steven Underwood, an attorney representing Duncan and other plaintiffs in the suit, declined to comment.