A U.S. District judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Alabama Farm Credit (AFC) against former borrower Dustin Kittle as the latest fight in the ongoing legal battle between the two came to a head over the New Year's holiday weekend.

AFC had filed a request for a preliminary injunction against Kittle to prevent him from calling a stockholder meeting on December 29, 2023, in an attempt to vote out the lender's current board of directors and leaders for allegedly violating federal lending laws and mishandling poultry loans.

SEE ALSO: Borrower alleges more 'improprieties' at Alabama Farm Credit involving poultry' lender theft'

U.S. District Judge Corey Maze denied the motion, saying AFC did not prove the meeting could "irreparably injure" the organization. However, The court agreed that AFC had "shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits of its claim that Kittle has no authority to hold such a vote."

In his filed response, Kittle argued the injunction would violate the First Amendment and his right to freely assemble. He also said the injunction should be denied due to AFC's "unclean hands." Kittle further threatened to take legal action against AFC for "falsities" made in its injunction request and to enter into evidence findings of a federal investigation into AFC.

"Plaintiff's Officers and Directors have engaged in a deliberate campaign of suppression and misrepresentation for more than two years, in attempting to cover up the true nature of a federal agency investigation that resulted in findings plainly identifying violations of federal law and regulations," Kittle's response stated.

Following the court's dismissal on Wednesday, AFC officially dismissed its original complaint against Kittle "without prejudice." The lender argued that the request was "moot" since the date of the December 29 meeting, which it claimed Kittle did not attend, had already passed. On top of canceling the meeting and removing his accusations on social media, AFC was seeking $75,000 compensation plus punitive damages from Kittle for his "intentionally malicious behavior."

RELATED: Alabama Farm Credit denies wrongdoing as more former borrowers come forward with complaints — 'It was total hell with them'

"After Kittle put Alabama Farm Credit's lawyers on notice that he would be pursuing sanctions related to the falsities in the filing and stated his intent to file a Federal Agency's findings into evidence, Alabama Farm Credit, abruptly and without notice, dismissed its legal action against Kittle," a message posted to Kittle's Facebook read.

Kittle held multiple meetings the week of December 29. He said he planned to continue to "pressure" AFC to address his concerns and replace its leadership.

"The dismissal of Alabama Farm Credit's Federal Complaint does little to take away the sting of being sued for the first time in my life — especially when the filing was nothing more than a thinly-veiled effort to intimidate me and others from telling the truth," Kittle said in a statement. "It is past time for this CEO and the Board of Directors to announce their resignation so that families like my own can begin to get the justice we deserve for the wrongful actions that have been taken against us."

To connect with the story's author or comment, email daniel.taylor@1819news.com or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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