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A New Update for the Disney vs DeSantis Battle

A New Update for the Disney vs DeSantis Battle

The ongoing conflict between The Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron Desantis has erupted into quite an event. Now, Disney has made a big move in the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District lawsuit.

Ongoing Conflict

Credit: Donna

The past year has been a turbulent one between the state of Florida and The Walt Disney Company. Florida passed the Parental Rights in Education Law in 2022. The Walt Disney Company initially remained quiet surrounding this bill despite pleas from employees and fans for them to take an official stance. Tension built until then-CEO Bob Chapek denounced the bill.

The tension between the company and the state continued to worsen as state Republicans repealed the Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967. This brought big operational changes to the Walt Disney World resort.

Lawsuits

Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Bob Iger stated that although The Walt Disney Company did not handle the response to the Parental Rights in Education Law in the best way, he does feel that DeSantis is punishing the Walt Disney Company for practicing free speech. In fact, in April, Daniel M. Petrocelli, a high-powered Los Angeles litigator, filed complaints on Disney’s behalf in federal court against Governor DeSantis. 

The chief reasons for Disney filing this lawsuit included “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.” Of course, DeSantis has asked for a judge to dismiss the whole thing claiming that the Walt Disney Company’s filing is “meritless.”

Update on the CFTOD Lawsuit

Credit: flgov.com

There is also a lawsuit filed by the DeSantis-appointed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) against Disney to nullify agreements between the former Reedy Creek Tourism District and Disney. The agreement essentially transferred power from the Reedy Creek Tourism District to Disney prior to the district being dissolved.

DeSantis himself is not a party in this lawsuit. Disney has, unsurprisingly, motioned for it to be dismissed.

Credit: Disney

 On July 14, 2023, Judge Margaret H Schreiber heard arguments from representatives for both Disney and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) during an hour-long hearing pertaining to the motion for a dismissal of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District lawsuit against Disney. Essentially, Disney is arguing that the case is moot since Florida has already passed legislation (SB 1604) nullifying the agreement.

Disney has made an additional request in the event that the judge does not throw out the case. If the lawsuit is to continue, the request is that the case be put on pause until after Disney’s federal case in Tallahassee against DeSantis, which was filed first, is resolved.

The CFTOD argues that the case is not moot. Moreover, it claims the federal lawsuit Disney filed was not properly served to the defendants; therefore, the claim is that the CFTOD suit against Disney was filed first.

www.rcid.org

After hearing the arguments, Schreiber ruled that the matter is now under advisement. The judge will take more time before making any final rulings. She also imposed a deadline of July 19, 2023, for both Disney and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District to submit competing orders as if the judge had ruled in each of their favors to the court for review.

Disney wants the judge to either dismiss the lawsuit or put a ruling on hold until after a ruling in the federal case has been made.

Although the judge put the July 19 deadline in place, she has not announced when she will make a ruling. So, it looks as if the legal battle will stretch on.

What are your thoughts on the various lawsuits involving the state of Florida and Disney? Let us know in the comments.


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Rich

Tuesday 18th of July 2023

Agree with Cynthia’s intelligent comment.

Karadion

Tuesday 18th of July 2023

"They are the largest employer in Florida and DO pay their fair share in taxes." No, they are not the largest employer in the state of Florida and this is proven false with a quick visit to Florida DEO. Publix is the largest employer in the state of Florida.

Karadion

Tuesday 18th of July 2023

"I mean, it’s not like Florida has over 1800 special tax districts just like what Disney had" Actually Reedy Creek was exempted from the Special District Laws such as Florida Statute 190 / Uniform Special District Accountability Act of 1989. Universal Studios for example tried to apply for this same exemption but was rejected. Reedy Creek also was exempted from following Florida's building codes while the 1800+ special districts were not due to the nature of how their special district was designed.

"that the original legislation was specifically worded to solely dissolve just their district while leaving all of the other ones intact…" Actually no, the legislation dissolved 6 special districts that were exempted from Florida Statute 190 / Uniform Special District Accountability Act of 1989. The legislation targetted all special districts that were created before a specific date.

Mark

Monday 17th of July 2023

Wow! So you are what a troll sounds like! Are you as ugly as your actions and words too... or just ignorant?

Cynthia Skrocki

Monday 17th of July 2023

Then, let’s do this to all of the special districts in Florida that run their own “country”? Really? Disney’s sweetheart deal was most likely because when it was built there was nothing close to it to help in an emergency. Nobody cares until DeSantis got his feelings hurt by a company that has the right to freedom of speech. They are the largest employer in Florida and DO pay their fair share in taxes. DeSantis is a troll and living under some warped Christian Nationalist ideology. How about those insurance rates in Florida? Yep, really doing us a favor.

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