Dickerson v. Deno

In Dickerson v. Deno, 770 So. 2d 63, 64 (Ala. 2000), the Alabama Supreme Court denied enforcement of a contract made in Alabama to share the winnings of a Florida lottery ticket. In Dickerson, the court, citing Alabama law, concluded the contract was "founded . . . on a gambling consideration" and was therefore void. Id. As noted in its dissenting opinion, Dickerson was decided on the basis of invalid consideration. Id. at 67 (Johnstone, J., dissenting). In Dickerson, five restaurant employees agreed to share winnings of lottery tickets provided, apparently as a gratuity, by a regular customer. Id. at 64. The court concluded the employees' mutual promises constituted unlawful consideration because the parties exchanged promises that were contingent upon the occurrence of the "uncertain event" that the winner of the "Florida lottery matched the numbers on one of the tickets held by the five individuals." Id. at 66-67. In its opinion the Dickerson court stated "the facts in this case show that there was no agreement to jointly purchase or to jointly hold the lottery tickets." Id. at 66. The Court voided an agreement to share winnings between Alabama holders of individually owned Florida lottery tickets. Because the tickets were owned by each individual party, they could only receive the proceeds from the winning lottery ticket as a result of their side agreement to share, not as a result of an ownership interest in the winning ticket. Id. at 66. Thus, the court reasoned the contract was founded on gambling consideration as it was a wager, hedging their bets in an attempt to increase each party's odds of winning the Florida lottery, an uncertain event none of the parties controlled. Id. at 66-67.