It’s Your Money: The Myrtle Beach lawsuit that is costing you

Myrtle Beach paid $100,000 to digitize documents for lawsuit

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The city of Myrtle Beach paid more than $100,000 to digitize its documents for the federal lawsuit with the NAACP.

The city’s October check registry showed the company Xact Data Discovery received $136,519 for “invoices for NAACP case."

Myrtle Beach spokesperson Mark Kruea said this fee was needed to digitize documents used in court for the case.

“The federal courts lately have asked for document production that is easily searchable so that nobody is looking at a bunch of papers,” Kruea said.

The United States District Court of South Carolina explained all records and documents used in court need to be electronically filed. A spokesperson said this has been the standard for years.

“If there were 10,000 or 20,000 documents requested as part of the discovery process, when that case gets to federal court the court system wants you to be able to say, ‘Alright, I want to see page 3,021 instantly,’ and that’s part of what this is,” Kruea said. "This is the digitization of all of those documents that are part of the city’s end of this court case.”

The NAACP lawsuit filed in February 2018 claimed the city’s 23-mile traffic loop discriminates against black tourists.

Myrtle Beach created the traffic loop for its Memorial Day Bike Fest, also known as “Black Bike Week,” to reduce traffic congestion on Ocean Boulevard. The loop forces one-way traffic between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

The city began the traffic loop after three were killed and seven injured in shootings during the 2014 bike fest .

The lawsuit alleges there are “stark differences in the treatment of African-American bikers during Black Bike Week compared to the treatment of majority-White bikers during Harley Week."

The complaint also claimed the city deploys more police officers during the fest and utilizes aggressive policing tactics.

Myrtle Beach responded to the complaint in March, denying discriminatory policies and stated traffic control strategies are not "rigid plans.”

Kruea said the funds to digitize the court documents for this case were in the budget and taken from the general fund.

“It’s also one of those that you really can’t predict in advance what the expense is going to be, so we do budget for legal expenses through the course of a year, sometimes we’re under budget in that area, sometimes we’re over budget in that area,” he said.

In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the city budgeted $934,446 for the city’s attorney’s office. Next year, that budget is increased by $23,000.

Included in that budget is the salary for the city attorney and two assistant city attorneys.

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