ACLU drops lawsuit

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas has dropped its lawsuit that accused a former lawyer for the state utilities regulating agency of filing a baseless, retaliatory complaint against two environmental activists.

Last month, a U.S. District Judge gutted most of the ACLU’s lawsuit by finding that the members of the Kansas Corporation Commission are immune from liability.

That left former general counselor Dustin Kirk as the sole remaining defendant.

The ACLU said it decided to voluntarily dismiss its claim against Kirk because they expected the judge to also find Kirk entitled to immunity.

The lawsuit contended that Kirk filed a bogus consumer protection complaint in 2018 against two activists.

The complaint alleged they engaged in the unauthorized practice of law because they shared information and advice with other concerned citizens protesting injection well applications.

Kirk left his job at the Kansas Corporation Commission that year, and the agency has said it did not learn about his complaint to the Kansas attorney general’s office until after he was gone.