An Overland Park political consultant is taking another consultant to court over whether he violated a non-compete clause after leaving to start his own firm.
The Singularis Group has filed a lawsuit against Dustin Morris, who worked for the firm for five years before branching out in May to start his own consulting business that focuses on politics in Missouri.
The Singularis Group is a consulting firm that represents conservative candidates and is owned by longtime Republican consultant Kris Van Meteren.
The firm also has a similar lawsuit filed against one of its former consultants, Jared Suhn, pending in Johnson County District Court.
Suhn parted ways with Singularis in 2019.
“It’s unfortunate Kris did feel that he had to sue me,” Morris said in an interview.
“We were in open negotiations back and forth with Kris to kind of find a working relationship after I departed,” Morris said.
“He felt that our terms that we offered him, I guess, weren’t acceptable enough,” he said. “He kind of went silent on us and filed this kind of out of the blue.”
The lawsuit accuses Morris – now treasurer of the Johnson County Republican Party and a candidate for the Olathe City Council – of violating a 2016 agreement that barred him from competing with Singularis.
The agreement prohibited Morris from competing against Singularis in any way during the period of the agreement and for two years after, the lawsuit states.
Among other things, Morris was barred from contacting any client – or potential client – with the intent of influencing or attempting to influence them not to do business with Singularis.
The lawsuit contends that Morris’ new firm – Alpha Electoral Strategies LLC – is a competitor of The Singularis Group.
The lawsuit accuses Morris of breaching his agreement with Singularis by contacting its clients and potential clients with the intent of getting them to do business with a competitor.
It also accuses Morris of disclosing confidential information to a third party, including Alpha Electoral Strategies and his business partner, Nathan Adams.
“Since 1986, I’ve taken electing conservatives seriously but I also take seriously protecting what it has taken me and my team 22 years to build,” Van Meteren said in a statement.
“I try to give people with whom I have this kind of disagreement every opportunity to resolve the issue amicably, and have in this situation,” he said.
“But when those efforts are continually rebuffed, I will do what is necessary to protect the conservative movement, myself, my business, my clients, my employees, and their families,” he said.