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Judge freezes disputed Ind. lottery jackpot

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PAMELA ENGEL | March 1, 2013 03:30 PM EST | AP

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INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana judge barred the state lottery commission from awarding a $9.5 million lottery prize Friday pending a decision on whether the jackpot should be given to a hairstylist or shared between her and her colleagues.

Seven stylists at Lou's Creative Styles in Indianapolis say the winning Hoosier Lotto ticket for the Feb. 16 drawing was part of an office lottery pool. Christina Shaw insists she bought the ticket for herself, not the pool.

Marion Superior Court Judge Heather Welch issued a preliminary injunction to stall payment of the jackpot until the legal battle has been resolved.

The hairstylists who brought the lawsuit testified Wednesday that they had all agreed to share any winnings from tickets purchased at the same time as those for an office pool. A court document states Shaw knew the rules because they were regularly discussed in the salon.

Shaw told one of the other hairstylists from the salon that the ticket that won the lottery was a personal ticket and that she "purchased the group lottery tickets and her personal lottery tickets at the same time and the same location," according to a court document.

Lucy Lewis Johnston, who owns Lou's Creative Styles, said during a court hearing Wednesday that buying a personal ticket with pool tickets would make it impossible "to determine which was whose ticket."

Hairstylist Linda Sue Stewart said that's why they had all agreed that any such tickets "were all considered part of the pool." Shaw did not attend the hearing, and her attorney didn't take part.

The lottery commission did not oppose the preliminary injunction.

"We really aren't involved in the dispute and continue to just follow the court's orders," said Al Larsen, a spokesman for the lottery. "We'll wait until there is a resolution and we're told to move forward."

Attorney Scott Montross, who represents the hairstylists fighting for a share of the prize, said his clients were more hurt than angry.

"They're disappointed that it came to this," Montross said. "They're much more disappointed than they are angry."