Two former North Carolina Supreme Court justices have lined up on opposite sides of a lawsuit challenging the nearly $300 million in incentives granted by North Carolina to Dell in 2004 in order to lure a computer manufacturing facility to the state that was opened last year.

Burley Mitchell, representing Dell, said Wednesday that the suit challenging the deal filed by seven taxpayers should be thrown out. He cited a previous N.C. Supreme Court decision affirming the use of incentives.

“The issues raised in the case just don’t have any business before this court,” Mitchell told Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood.
Robert Orr, who represents the taxpayers filing the suit and dissented in the ruling cited by Mitchell, argued the constitutionality of the deal.

“Mr. Mitchell says that this is all about public policy,” said Orr, who wrote the dissenting opinion in the state ruling that upheld incentives. “This case is whether elected officials abide by the limitations and provisions in both the North Carolina constitution and the United States constitution.”

Hobgood made no ruling Wednesday but said he would decide next week whether the case should continue, according to The Associated Press.

Dell spent more than $100 million to build the plant in Winston-Salem. The company wrangled more than $30 million in subsidies from state and local governments in negotiating where the plant would be built. The facility is Dell’s third largest.

Some 700 people will be hired to man the plant in its first year of operation. Dell is committed to hiring as many as 1,500 over the next five years.