The lawsuit claiming Edwin Castro is not the real winner of the historic $2.04 billion California Powerball jackpot suffered a legal setback this week after a judge ruled he was never properly been served a court summons.
Lawyers for Jose Rivera, the man who claims he rightfully bought the golden ticket but had it stolen by an acquaintence, incorrectly handed Castro’s father the lawsuit.
Castro Snr shares the same name as his son except for a middle initial and was at his son’s Altadena home on the day the server gave him the papers, Superior Court of Los Angeles Judge William Crowfoot noted Wednesday during his ruling.
Crowfoot ruled the father was not authorized to receive the papers on his son’s behalf, and Rivera’s team additionally erred when he sent copies of the complaint to another of Castro’s homes in Los Angeles.
Castro alleged the papers he received did not include the proper notices of acknowledgement and return envelope, as per required by law when being served.
Given the mix-up, Crowfoot clarified that there was no need for Castro’s father to testify before the court, and a follow up hearing over the case was scheduled for Monday morning.
The court’s decision is the latest blow to Rivera’s lawsuit after two attorneys he hired to represent him recently quit within a week of each other.
Rivera is suing Castro and his former landlord, Urachi “Reggie” Romero, over the prize money, claiming that Romero stole his winning ticket and that Castro claimed it as his own.
Rivera, however, has yet to provide any explanation as to how the ticket allegedly traveled from Romero’s hands to Castro’s, and his attorney R. Brian Kramer filed papers on July 12 to desert the case, according to court documents.
A week later, Rivera’s other attorney, Estela Richeda, informed the court that she, too, will be dropping out of the case, The US Sun reported.
Rivera alleges to have bought the winning lotto ticket from Joe’s Service Center in Altadena — the same location as Castro — a day before the record-breaking drawing. He said Romero stole his ticket from the home where they were both living and filed a lawsuit against both men in April.
Romero has denied stealing the ticket, but he told The Post he believes Rivera did in fact purchase the winning numbers, saying he saw it with his own eyes.
Romero said he doesn’t know how it ended up in Castro’s possession, but questioned why, if he had allegedly taken the ticket, he wouldn’t have kept the fortune for himself.
The California Lottery has maintained that it is confident Castro is the rightful winner of the record-breaking fortune.
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