Olathe A lawsuit filed against Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline by eight former employees has been moved to federal court.
Seven former assistant district attorneys and a chief investigator last week sued Kline in Johnson County District Court, claiming he had no right to fire them when he took over the office earlier this month or to refuse to participate in a county grievance hearing on their removal.
Kline, who has said he isn't bound by county hiring and firing laws, on Monday asked that the case go before a federal judge because the plaintiffs charge that he violated their federally protected rights to free speech, free association and due process. The workers are asking for reinstatement, back pay and punitive damages.
A district court hearing on the case, scheduled for Tuesday, was canceled. A hearing in federal court had not yet been set.
The eight workers lost their jobs Jan. 8 after Kline, a Republican, took office as the replacement for Paul Morrison, who ousted Kline as Kansas attorney general in the November election.
Johnson County Republican committee members were allowed to pick Morrison's replacement because he won his five terms in the county office as a Republican.
Morrison switched to the Democratic Party to challenge Kline.