Haley, others seeking to dismiss hacking lawsuit

COLUMBIA — Initial skirmishes are playing out in the class-action lawsuit filed against Gov. Nikki Haley and others after the massive breach of taxpayer information at the S.C. Department of Revenue.

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To read previous stories in the Hacked series, go to postandcourier.com/hacked.

Three motions have been filed seeking to dismiss the suit. Filing are Haley, with the Revenue Department and its former director; the Division of State Information Technology; and Trustwave, an outside firm used to review system security.

A judge is scheduled to hear those motions and others Feb. 7 in Fifth Circuit Court in Richland County.

In their shared motion, attorneys for Haley, the Revenue Department and its former director, Jim Etter, argued that the case should be dismissed for several reasons, including that the breach is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and that the three have immunity from the lawsuit under the state’s Tort Claims Act.

That’s the same law that caps lawsuit damages against public agencies in South Carolina at $600,000 per occurrence, such as a single hacking incident.

John Hawkins is a former state senator who filed the class-action suit on behalf of Spartanburg’s Phillip Morgan in October.

Hawkins is expected to argue that the breach affecting millions of S.C. taxpayers and businesses represents more than a single occurrence.

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