Disney wants to limit the scope of its lawsuit against DeSantis to claims of free speech

Disney wants to limit the scope federal lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was merely citing freedom of speech and alleging that the Florida governor retaliated against the company for publicly opposing a state law banning lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades.

Disney on Friday asked permission from a federal judge to file an amended lawsuit that focuses only on the First Amendment claim and waives it another lawsuit in state court Questions about the legitimacy of the agreements the company signed with the Disney World governorate, which was made up of Disney supporters at the time. The agreements were signed before DeSantis and the Florida GOP-controlled Legislature took over government authority in the spring.

The agreements shifted control of the design and construction of the theme park resort from new DeSantis officers on the resort’s board of directors Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) to Disney. Those appointed by DeSantis are now contesting the legality of the agreements in state court. DeSantis is not a party to the state court lawsuit.

“Disney faces tangible, imminent and lasting harm as a result of CFTOD’s new powers and composition, which will be used to punish Disney for expressing a political opinion,” read Disney’s federal court filing.

The revised complaint would “challenge this unconstitutional weapon of government by seeking a declaratory judgment allowing Disney to pursue its future in Florida free from the ongoing retaliatory actions of the CFTOD board,” Disney said.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor Friday denied Disney’s motion for a scope limitation because a procedural rule required Disney attorneys to consult with DeSantis attorneys before making such a motion. The judge said Disney could resubmit its application after complying with the court order. An email was sent to Disney’s attorneys on Sunday seeking comment.

The Disney filing, as well as other recent state filings, shows how the fates of the two lawsuits are intertwined, particularly after Disney filed a state counterclaim alleging many of the same claims made in the federal litigation Case. Disney filed the counterclaim after the state court judge denied Disney’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

The battle between DeSantis and Disney began last year after the company faced one another significant pressure Internally and externally, they publicly opposed a state law banning lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades, policy critics have argued “Don’t say gay.”

As a punishment, DeSantis took over the district through legislation passed by the Florida legislature and appointed a new board of directors to oversee municipal services to the sprawling theme parks and hotels. However, the new managers’ powers were limited by the company’s agreements with their predecessors.

In response, the DeSantis and Florida legislatures passed legislation repealing those agreements.

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at @MikeSchneiderAP

Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: LauraCoffey@worldtimetodays.com.

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