(USNewsBreak.com) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and Disney officials have remained at odds for nearly two years. The problems began when the Sunshine State passed the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. Both sides have gone back and forth, exchanging barbs, and Disney has filed two lawsuits against DeSantis. A judge recently tossed out one of them.
On Wednesday, January 31, a federal judge dismissed one of Disney’s lawsuits that alleged DeSantis and his allies “changed the [Reedy Creek] district’s governing structure to punish it for its speech.” The company had maintained control over the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) since 1967, taking the tax hit each year, an arrangement that DeSantis did away with. It’s now known as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD).
A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed Disney's free speech lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, leaving the company's remaining hopes of regaining control of the district that governs Walt Disney World to a separate state court challenge. https://t.co/M3CTo5Ng6M
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 1, 2024
After Disney filed the suit naming DeSantis, the CFTOD board, and the Florida Department of Commerce, the defendants moved to dismiss it based on Eleventh Amendment immunity and a lack of standing. US District Judge Allen Winsor agreed that Disney failed to prove its case and that the company’s injury claims were “in the past.” He also said the company failed to show any actual damages resulting from the board’s specific actions.
After the ruling, a news release on Florida’s website celebrated it, saying, “The days of Disney controlling its own government and being placed above the law” are in the past. The company immediately appealed the decision the next day.
Disney still has one lawsuit pending against the state of Florida, claiming that the CFOTD has failed to preserve records properly or release documents the company requested seven months ago. Disney alleges these actions violate Florida’s public records law. That action is still open in an Orlando court. According to NBC Miami, around a fifth of the board’s employees have left since the state has taken over, leading some to believe that those who left have taken institutional knowledge and the reputation of a well-run government with them.
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