Rhode Island sues HP Enterprise over DMV computer system

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The state is suing Hewlett Packard Enterprise over a long-delayed project to build a new computer system for its Division of Motor Vehicles.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Rhode Island Superior Court seeks a temporary restraining order and injunction that would block the Palo Alto, California-based company from walking off the project. The lawsuit says the state has already paid more than $13 million for a new DMV computer system that hasn’t been fully delivered.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said in a statement Tuesday that she is holding the company accountable because it is “unfairly demanding more money to complete an 8-year-old computer upgrade” and is “trying to double the price of this project.” She referred to a 2013 pledge made by CEO Meg Whitman to devote more resources to get the project done in a way state residents deserved.

HP Enterprise was one of two companies formed last year by the breakup of tech giant Hewlett-Packard Inc., which had inherited the DMV project after acquiring another company. The project was first contracted in 2008 to replace a decades-old system written in obsolete code.

HP Enterprise said Tuesday it met its contractual obligations with Rhode Island and tried to reach a fair resolution. It said in a statement that “given the progress that has been made by both parties, it is unfortunate the state has derailed this project by being unwilling to pay for additional work” that it says the state requested and it performed.