Judge denies application to split $100,000 grand prize
They had hoped to split a $100,000 prize but instead four Cape Bretoners are now splitting $1,200 in legal fees.
The four were among five finalists selected last month in a grand prize draw celebrating Sydney-based MacDonald Auto Group’s 50th anniversary. Prior to the draw, the five did agree to split the prize that would have guaranteed each walking out the door with $20,000.
Darin Seymour of Glace Bay won the draw. He did not attend but was represented by his wife, Kim.
The Seymours declined to share the prize after the fact and the other four contestants filed an injunction application with the Supreme Court asking that the agreement be enforced.
In a ruling issued Wednesday, Justice Frank Edwards denied the application.
“Kim, as Darin’s agent, had no authority (actual, implied or apparent) to commit Darin to share his $100,000 grand prize,” said Edwards, in a written decision.
Edwards noted that one other contestant represented at the draw by a family member was contacted about splitting the prize and gave their consent prior to the draw.
Darin Seymour was not contacted prior to the draw.
“Kim did not consult Darin. The waiver signed by Kim for the dealership would in no way expand her authority to simply accept the prize,” said Edwards.
He said one person, even a spouse, cannot make a decision like this one for another person without that person’s authorization.
“The agreement was spawned in a highly charged atmosphere. It is understandable that the crucial issue of Darin’s input simply got overlooked. There is no evidence that anyone even asked Kim whether she was sure her husband would go along with the deal.”
Edwards concluded that Darin Seymour did nothing to give anyone the impression he would authorize his spouse to do anything more than simply pick up his prize if he was the winner.
“The fact is that Darin won, he never agreed to share his prize, and he never authorized his wife to make such an arrangement,” the judge said.
In denying the injunction, Edwards said the four plaintiffs have no chance of convincing a court that Darin Seymour is contractually bound to share his winnings.
Edwards ordered the four to pay $1,200 in legal costs to the Seymours.
Sydney lawyer Candee McCarthy represented the Seymours and said Wednesday her clients were happy with the decision. “They are hopeful that this will conclude the litigation and they can move on and enjoy their winnings,” said McCarthy, in offering comment on behalf of her clients.
Fortunately for the Seymour’s, she said, the judge concluded there was no enforceable agreement to the standard upheld by the Supreme Court.
“My clients will be happy to put this behind them and hope that everyone can move on,” she said.
Christine Murray represented the plaintiffs and said Wednesday that her clients were disappointed with the outcome.
“We certainly felt Mrs. Seymour did have Mr. Seymour’s authority, by way of apparent or ostensible authority, as he sent her to the draw to act on his behalf,” said Murray.
The plaintiffs in the case were Priscilla Gould of Eskasoni, Karen Doucette of Eskasoni, Rita MacMullin of Sydney Mines, and Matthew Standing of North Sydney.
In affidavits filed in connection with the injunction application, Darin Seymour said he would never have agreed to split the prize with four strangers.
As to what the Seymour’s now plan to do with their winnings, they had stated they want to make repairs to their home and take their young daughter to Walt Disney World.
Kim Seymour represented her husband at the grand prize draw.
Darin Seymour says he wasn’t contacted prior to the draw.