In a new joint stipulation filed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is seeking to dismiss Disney’s lawsuit against him and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board.
All Defendants intend to file motions to dismiss the amended complaint.
Defendants request, and Plaintiff does not oppose, that the Court set the
following briefing schedule for the motions to dismiss:
• Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss: Due 6/26/23
• Plaintiff’s Responses: Due 7/26/23
• Defendants’ Replies: Due 8/9/23
While no official motion has been filed, the document indicates the intentions of the defendants to do so, and maps out deadlines agreed upon by both parties. The Governor and other defendants named by Disney in this lawsuit must seek dismissal on or before June 26 this year.
The Disney-DeSantis Feud
The Florida Governor and Walt Disney Company initially clashed over the corporation’s opposition to a much-debated and controversial Florida law regarding classroom instruction and discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools, alongside various other recent state laws and proposals in a similar vein.
Bob Chapek was Chief Executive Officer at the time and initially remained silent and passive on the issue — until massive internal criticisms from cast members and controversy over Disney’s practice of making hefty political contributions to campaigns and individuals allegedly against their own stated human principles came into focus.
In an apparent act of retribution over Chapek’s expression of dissent, the Governor moved forward with various verbal and legal assaults on Disney, including the attempted dissolution of Reedy Creek and the eventual transfer of power directly under his control. DeSantis argues he is attacking a rather vague perception of something he calls “woke politics,” invading the state.
After heated exchanges and dramatic actions taken by Governor DeSantis in an apparent and self-described act of retribution, The Walt Disney Company sued the Governor and his newly handpicked board not long after Bob Iger’s return as CEO, citing a “targeted campaign of government retaliation — orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech.” The plaintiff argues that this chronology of events “threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.”
The CFTOD Board of Supervisors voted to file their own countersuit against Disney, essentially seeking to void and de-legitimize agreements Disney made with the previous Reedy Creek Improvement District before its forced dissolution. The new 188-page complaint names the Board itself as plaintiff against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The district is asking the court to render Disney’s development agreement with the Reedy Creek Improvement District as unenforceable, null, and void. They also ask the same be done of the restrictive covenants, which notably set the benchmark for expiry at 21 years after the death of the last living descendant of King Charles III, living as of the date of the document.
While Disney’s lawsuit is through federal court, the Board’s lawsuit is through Florida’s state courts.