Reserve fund to be used to pay award in lawsuit against Florence County sheriff

Florence County Attorney Malloy McEachin says the State Insurance Reserve Fund will be used to pay the $125,000 awarded to Phil Hanna in December in a civil lawsuit he filed against Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone.

Boone won't pay the money out of his own pocket because he was acting in his role as sheriff. Florence County pays a premium every year to the fund for coverage of lawsuits and other matters, according to McEachin.

The Insurance Reserve Fund is an office of the SC State Budget and Control Board.

Hanna accused Boone of using his power as sheriff to stop Hanna from getting a job with the Florence County Magistrate's Office.

A jury sided with Hanna on the accusation of tortuous interference.

Florence County Sheriff's Office Captain Michael Nunn issued a statement on Boone's behalf following the jury's decision.

"We greatly respect the role of the jury in our system of civil justice and the work of this jury in particular," Nunn said. "Naturally, we're disappointed in the decision and the judge has allowed us to make post trial motions in the coming days."

"We continue to believe that Sheriff Boone was in his rights as sheriff to comment on his views about possible interagency conflicts. And we believe Judge Cooper's testimony that Sheriff Boone's call did not play a part in his decision not to hire Mr. Hanna. Beyond that, we don't have any further comment at this time."

Boone's attorney has filed post trial motions asking for a new trial and for the amount of the award to be reduced.