Disney Asks State Court to Dismiss Lawsuit Filed by DeSantis-Picked Board

Mickie and Minnie Mouse stand in front of Walt Disney World in Florida

The back and forth legal battle between The Walt Disney Company and Governor Ron DeSantis over the control of the Reedy Creek Improvement District had taken another twist, as Disney has moved for a Florida state court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against Disney by the DeSantis-appointed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District under the theory that the lawsuit is now moot.

Disney’s argument is that DeSantis has already signed into law Senate Bill 1604, which voided Disney’s control of the board of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, so that any state lawsuit filed by the district would be moot, and that Disney’s federal lawsuit would supersede both the Senate Bill and the lawsuit.


RELATED: Disney Is Suing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

How did the Disney/DeSantis fight begin?

The current situation initially began in April 2022, when Disney released a statement denouncing DeSantis’ so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prevents any mention of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools through the third grade. DeSantis retaliated by stripping Disney of its special self-governing tax status, and also abolished the Reedy Creek Improvement District that Disney used to run the site of Walt Disney World in Orlando. DeSantis replaced the Reedy Creek Improvement District with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), with board members appointed by DeSantis.

Disney responded by revealing that it had signed a number of deals prior to the dissolution of its control of the Reedy Creky Improvement District that would essentially nullify the control of the CFTOD in terms of control of most of the major functions of Walt Disney World.

RELATED: Disney Strikes Back at Florida’s Ron DeSantis With Two Major Developments

Where does the Disney/DeSantis situation sit in court at the moment?

Disney’s gambit with the contacts led to the CFTOD suing Disney in state court, and DeSantis signing the Senate Bill to dissolve the Disney control. Disney sued DeSantis in federal court, stating that “A targeted campaign of government retaliation — orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech — now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights,”

Now, Disney is arguing that since the federal action would supersede the state lawsuit filed by the CFTOD, and DeSantis’ Senate Bill would ALSO superede it if Disney were to lose in federal court, then the state action should be dismissed, arguing “This Court accordingly cannot provide meaningful relief to either party: A ruling in CFTOD’s favor would be pointless, and a ruling in Disney’s favor would be meaningless. Under the Florida Constitution, trial courts have no power to issue opinions that are at best advisory and lack any real-world effect on the parties’ rights.”

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


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