Disney Drops Most Claims in Lawsuit Against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, during a Freedom Blueprint event in Des Moines, Iowa, U
Kathryn Gamble/Bloomberg; Qilai Shen/via Getty Images

The Walt Disney Co. has dropped most of its claims in its lawsuit against Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after he revoked their special privilege in retaliation against the company’s stalwart opposition to his state’s anti-groomer law.

On Thursday, the complaint filed by the company said that it will strictly focus on its First Amendment rights, claiming that the DeSantis administration revoked Walt Disney World’s privilege to self-govern in response to the company exercising its freedom of speech. It dropped the Contracts Clause, Takings Clause and Due Process Clause violations.

Disney had its special privilege revoked in the state after it characterized the anti-groomer law, which barred teachers from discussing sexuality with third graders, as a homophobic “Don’t Say Gay” law. This past April, Disney filed a lawsuit in Florida federal court claiming that the governor’s “hand-picked oversight board illegally voided an agreement that allegedly transferred certain powers of the company’s now-dissolved special district back to Disney.” Per The Hollywood Reporter (THR):

The development contracts in question were quietly signed by the previous oversight board on Feb. 8, the day before the state legislature passed a bill at DeSantis’ direction reshaping the leadership structure of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID). Under the new bill, the governor was granted the authority to appoint every member of the special tax district’s five-member governing body. The move was intended to retaliate against the company, with the aim of discouraging the company from speaking out on social issues.

Gov. DeSantis moved to dismiss the suit in June, but Disney responded by asking to drop the other claims due to them already being “actively litigated in the pending state court action.”

“In order to spare the inefficiency of litigating contract validity simultaneously in two forums, Disney’s Second Amended Complaint eliminates the four contract-based counts from this action,” the company said. “The remaining claim—challenging the law reconstituting RCID with the Governor’s hand-picked [Central Florida Tourism Oversight District] Board of Supervisors as a retaliatory weaponization of government in violation of Disney’s First Amendment rights—can be fully adjudicated here no matter how the state court rules on Disney’s contract claims.”

Though U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor denied the company’s request on September 1, the filing on Thursday indicates that Desantis “allowed Disney to drop its contract claims without prejudice, meaning they can be refiled, before the judge ruled on the motion to dismiss,” according to THR.

Paul Roland Bois joined Breitbart News in 2021. He also directed the award-winning feature film, EXEMPLUM, which can be viewed for FREE on YouTube or Tubi. A high-quality, ad-free stream can also be purchased on Google Play or Vimeo on Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.