The creation of an express written contract occurs every day. These are contracts documented on an instrument where two parties agree to performing certain actions or preventing a party from performing, and they allow these parties to be liable to the other if one were to breach the contract. For an express written contract, the right to sue for breach of contract is so vital that when the General Assembly created the Georgia Constitution, a clause was added that precludes Georgia and all entities/instrumentalities within, to use sovereign immunity to avoid litigation. If Georgia or the entities/instrumentalities of the state could use sovereign immunity to avoid liability for breaching a contract, the entire purpose of an express written contract would be destroyed.
Generally, parties understand when they enter into these express written contracts, but that is not always the case, especially for the Georgia Lottery Corporation in the case at hand. In Georgia Lottery Corporation v. Patel, Patel won $5,000,000 on a scratch off lottery ticket. When Patel requested the money, the Georgia Lottery Corporation (GLC) denied her ticket and refused to give the money over. In frustration, Patel sued GLC for breach of contract. GLC, as a government instrumentality, raised sovereign immunity to deny Patel's claim. All hope seemed lost that Patel would never recover her life changing $5,000,000. However, the Court of Appeals found, on first impression, that a lottery ticket is an express written contract, which means GLC may not implement sovereign immunity. Thankfully, Patel's dreams, like many Georgia citizens who play the lottery, are still alive and Patel can have a proper trial in pursuit of recovering the $5,000,000 won from the lottery ticket.
Forrest F. Schrum IV, Casenote, A Lottery Ticket is an Express Written Contract and the General Assembly Waived Their Own Instrumentality from Sovereign Immunity!, 71 Mercer L. Rev. 1265 (2020).