A Dutch woman claimed that she had suffered emotional damages because she hadn't win the lottery, but her neighbors had. Helene de Gier explained that she was traumatized after seven of her neighbors won €13.9 million ($18.6 million) each in the National Postcode Lottery.
In this particular Dutch lottery, postal codes are selected at random and people living in that area can enter for prizes ranging from a few euros to millions. Proceeds generated by the lottery go to charity.
When de Gier's lucky neighbors in the small town of Heusden hit the jackpot, she hadn't even entered. She then filed a suit, arguing that the lottery was an invasion of privacy because of the media attention surrounding the town's selection.
She also claimed that her newly rich neighbors had rubbed her nose in her bad luck, with one cruelly parking a brand new Porsche in front of his house.
She says that she became obsessed with the lottery, and was confronted with her loss every time she had to write her address. According to de Gier, the lottery advertisements were in effect "emotional blackmail," by threatening to cause disappointment if someone's neighbors won and they didn't.
In a TV interview she tearfully recounted how she came to dread the next lottery draw, which "felt like a noose around my neck being tightened." And she said this lottery was not any ordinary game of chance. "In other lotteries you would never know for sure that if you had only participated you would have won," she insisted.
The court was not convinced. The judges ruled on Wednesday against her claim, and said the postcode lottery was no different to any other lottery or game of chance. After all, anyone can say after the results are in that if they had bet on the outcome they would have won.
The judges symphathized with the divisions caused in de Gier's village, but said that it was to be expected in a "small community."
In a summary of their written ruling, the judges said: "Things happen that have unpleasant consequences for someone, but that doesnt automatically mean the one causing them can be held liable."
But de Gier defended her legal battle. "I'm not a sore loser. Absolutely not."