Kansas Justice Institute files for temporary restraining order against Linn County Officials

Published: May. 12, 2020 at 5:09 PM CDT

The Kansas Justice Institute has filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against Linn County officials.

Some Linn County residents are suing their county officials for privacy. They believe that the COVID-19 health order violates their 4th Amendment rights. This amendment protects residents against unlawful searches and seizures.

The motion was filed late yesterday, Monday, May 11, for a temporary restraining order in order to provide more protection and relief from an order enacted by the Linn County government on May 1.

The order by the Linn County health officer has caused two Linn County residents to file a federal lawsuit. Originally filed on May 10, Jackie Taylor and Linda Jo Hisel say that the health order violates their 4th Amendment rights.

“Filing the motion underscores the urgency of protecting our constitutional rights,” says Kansas Justice Institute Litigation Director and General Counsel, Samuel MacRoberts. “America acted quickly to flatten the curve, and we’re acting quickly to ensure Linn County’s overreach is stopped in its tracks.”

The order given by the Linn County health officer states that business and professionals are required to compile and disclose a list of patrons, patients and clients. This list must be handed over to officials upon any request for any reason.

This order applies to health professionals, lawyers, bankers, dentists, restaurants and more. Residents say that it intrudes upon doctor-patient and attorney-client confidentialities. They also claim that the order is so broad that it would easily reveal a person’s movement over time, effectively tracking them.

“Even Governor Kelly acknowledged that Linn County went a little too far,” says Ryan Kriegshauser, an Olathe attorney who joined KJI in the suit. “Linn County should correct their unconstitutional actions instead of doubling down at taxpayer expense.”

Linn County has no active COVID-19 cases, however the health order remains. Only five confirmed cases existed in Linn County out of a population totaling a little under 10,000 people. The last diagnoses was March 28, 2020.

“By filing this motion, we’re continuing our fight against warrantless searches and government overreach in Linn County,” says MacRoberts. “The order’s warrantless search regime is unconstitutional. It authorizes warrantless searches and seizures for any purpose and deprives Plaintiffs and others similarly suited of their 4th Amendment rights.”

The hearing has currently not been scheduled. KJI has been involved in several COVID-19 related actions involving free speech and won their first suit in 2019 for protections for 1st Amendment rights of raw milk dairies in Kansas.