COlUMBIA — A former state senator from Spartanburg has filed the first class-action lawsuit against Gov. Nikki Haley and the S.C. Department of Revenue over the breach of an agency database.

John Hawkins, a Republican attorney, filed the lawsuit in Richland County Wednesday on behalf of a 60-year-old Spartanburg resident, Hawkins said.

“There are so many people affected that the only effective way to pursue this is through class-action litigation,” he said.

“We’re seeking answers, we’re seeking justice for the people who had their information hacked. The very act of allowing someone’s Social Security number to be hacked when you’re entrusted with it is actionable – it is grossly negligent.”

Hawkins likened the attack to a “cyber hurricane.”

Haley responded to the suit during a press conference Wednesday: “There is a trial lawyer with a handout and a tissue ready at any crisis and he has just proven that.”

Hawkins unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Lee Bright in last summer’s GOP primary in Spartanburg.

Haley endorsed Bright in that race.

Read more in tomorrow’s Post and Courier. Reach Stephen Largen at 864-641-8172 and follow him on Twitter @stephenlargen.