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South Carolina is Involved in Legal Dispute With IT Company over Fix for Failed Child Support System


If you have experienced issues with child support payments in South Carolina, chances are you are not alone.

A recent report in the technology publication Channelnomics detailed how Hewlett-Packard Co. was brought in to modernize the state’s system of child support payments. Unfortunately, the move has turned into a costly legal debacle.

The report states a ruling in a public-sector services contract dispute between Hewlett-Packard Co. and South Carolina could cost HP upwards of $275 million, the vendor told its investors earlier this month.

HP’s State and Local Enterprise Services unit had been working closely with South Carolina’s Department of Social Services on the development of a unified system for managing child support payments as well as tracking deadbeat parents.

“South Carolina is the only state without a centralized system despite a federal requirement issued in 1997,” stated the report.

The report detailed how South Carolina has been working for more than a decade on consolidating no less than 46 separate county systems which are currently used to handle child support cases. The job was initially contracted to Saber Corp. It was later transferred to EDS Corp. when it acquired Saber in 2007. HP became the lead contractor on the job in 2008 when it acquired EDS.

The relationship between HP and the state has not been a happy one to date. Channelnomics reports.

The case of South Carolina DSS vs. HP includes “requisite allegations of misfeasance and malfeasance from both parties.”

The state claims the vendor missed numerous deadlines, delivered low quality work and short-staffed the project. Now South Carolina is asking for $275 million in damages from HP, accusing it of failing to deliver on the $136 million project.

“With three companies and five CEOs in just seven years, this project has been defined by corporate chaos,” said SCDSS representative Atty. Marcus Manos, according to court transcripts. “South Carolina demands performance and accountability from all its contractors and the same applied to HP.

HP has already paid out $40 million of the $104 million in fines South Carolina has had to pay the federal government for failing to have its required systems in place on time. HP was effectively fired from the child support project in July, 2013.

HP maintains the delays were caused by shifting requirements that were introduced by the state. The Californian company accused South Carolina DSS in a preliminary hearing of having a secret “Plan B” to take over the project itself.

The long-term losers in this battle are those who have to deal with South Carolina’s outdated child support system.

Child support is often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce, even without having to deal with a system that is antiquated.

When a parent has fallen behind or is delinquent in payments our Columbia, SC child support lawyers can help you. If you are looking at avoiding a child support a settlement that will place you in difficulty, call Masella Law at 803.748.9990.

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