The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) has filed a new 2-page document in the federal lawsuit Walt Disney World filed against them and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hoping the judge will stay the case.
Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Seeks Stay
The Notice of Supplemental Authority argues that Disney’s recent countersuit in the state lawsuit that CFTOD filed against them makes the same claims as the federal lawsuit, and therefore the federal lawsuit should be stayed.
They cite Pullman abstention, which is a doctrine with the purpose to “avoid unnecessary friction in federal-state functions, interference with important state functions, tentative decisions on questions of state law, and premature constitutional adjudication.”
In a stay, the federal lawsuit would not be completely dropped or dismissed but paused until further notice. The state lawsuit will likely come to a close before the federal one, so the outcome could be a major factor in the federal case.
The District has budgeted over $5 million for their legal fight with Disney in the next fiscal year.
Disney vs. CFTOD
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the 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.
Former CEO Bob Chapek initially remained silent and passive on the issue — until massive internal criticisms from Cast Members, the LGBTQ+ community, and controversy over Disney making hefty political contributions to campaigns and individuals allegedly against their own stated human principles came into focus.
After Chapek denounced the law, Governor DeSantis moved forward with various verbal and legal assaults on Disney, including the attempted dissolution of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Ultimately, the District was renamed and DeSantis appointed his own Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors.
DeSantis argued he is attacking something he calls “woke politics” allegedly invading the state — frequently stating his intention to put the people of Florida first through these actions and the newly-formed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board:
Disney has gotten away with special deals from the state of Florida for way too long. It took a look under the hood to see what Disney has become to truly understand their inappropriate influence.
After the CFTOD Board attempted to declare Disney’s final agreements with RCID null and void, Disney filed a federal lawsuit against the Board and DeSantis, calling their actions a violation of their constitutional rights.
In the lawsuit, Disney cites “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.”
Disney regrets that it has come to this. But having exhausted efforts to seek a resolution, the Company is left with no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect its cast members, guests, and local development partners from a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.
The Board then filed a state lawsuit against Disney and Disney is now countersuing on the state level, arguing that because RCID was never actually dissolved, the CFOTD is essentially the same entity and is going back on their word.
Despite his many statements against Disney, DeSantis recently stated he’s “moved on” from the issue and said Disney should drop their lawsuit.