Disney vs. Central Florida Tourism District: Examining the Battle Over State Lawsuit

The feud between Disney and Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida shows no signs of reaching a resolution. 

Both parties are currently involved in separate federal and state lawsuits, each claiming violations of their rights and seeking a favorable outcome. 

As the legal battles continue, tensions rise, and the first hearing in the state lawsuit approaches, let’s delve into the latest developments in these contentious cases.

 The conflict escalated when Disney denounced the Florida Parental Rights in Education bill, expressing its desire for the law to be repealed or invalidated through the courts. 

In response, DeSantis collaborated with the state legislature to strip Disney of its special taxing district for its central Florida resort.

Subsequently, a new governing board appointed by DeSantis discovered an agreement between Disney and the previous board, granting significant power to the entertainment giant.

 In an effort to invalidate the agreement, the board declared it void, and the Florida legislature passed a law targeting its validity.

Disney filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida against DeSantis and other state officials. 

The company argues that its First Amendment rights to free speech, contractual rights, and due process under the 14th Amendment have been violated. 

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Legal Battle Over Alleged Government Retaliation

The feud between Disney and Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida shows no signs of reaching a resolution.

Disney contends that Florida officials have weaponized government power to retaliate against the company for expressing an unpopular political viewpoint. 

DeSantis and the other defendants have sought to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming immunity and challenging the link between the alleged harms and the state defendants.

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, represented by the board, filed a countersuit against Disney in the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit in Orange County, Florida. 

The board argues that Disney’s deal with the previous board violates Florida’s constitutional, statutory, and common law, asserting its authority over the district. 

Disney contends that the state lawsuit is moot due to a land use law passed by the state legislature, which invalidated the previous agreement. 

The company suggests staying the state lawsuit until a judgment is reached in the federal lawsuit.

Disney has until July 26 to respond to the defendants’ motion to dismiss in federal court. No specific trial dates have been set, but Disney has proposed a trial date of July 15, 2024, while DeSantis and the defendants have suggested August 4, 2025.

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Source: South Florida Business Journal, Washington Examiner

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