Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Files Motion to Stop Filmed Depositions in Disney Lawsuit

Shannen Ace

CFTOD logo and Disney Springs

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Files Motion to Stop Filmed Depositions in Disney Lawsuit

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has filed a new Motion for Protective Order to stop Disney from filming depositions with the current and former District Board members.

CFTOD Files Motion for Protective Order

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District CFTOD logo

In a previous filing regarding the District’s state lawsuit against Disney, the entertainment company announced its intention to film depositions with Martin Garcia, Charbel Barakat, Ron Peri, Bridget Ziegler, Brian Aungst Jr., and Michael Sasso beginning on Friday, March 22. Sasso resigned from the Board last May and Chairman Martin Garcia resigned this month.

In the District’s most recent filing, they cite the “apex doctrine” as the reason they should not have to give depositions. The doctrine holds that high-level government officials should not be subject to deposition unless the other party has exhausted other avenues of discovery.

“Disney cannot demonstrate that the individual board members have unique, personal knowledge that would be relevant to any of the claims, counterclaims or defenses in this action to overcome the apex doctrine, therefore a protective order is warranted,” the Motion reads.

Disney’s assault-style effort to depose all the board members is simply an improper form of harassment of these high-level government officials.

Former and current Board members provided statements explaining why they should not be deposed. They each state, “Given the lack of unique, personal knowledge relevant to the disputed matters and the comprehensive discovery already undertaken through document production and the records custodian deposition, my deposition would be unlikely to contribute meaningfully to the resolution of this case.”

Current Board members also state, “Engaging in a deposition would significantly impede my ability to execute my official duties as a member of the Board of Supervisors, diverting attention and resources away from the governance and oversight responsibilities critical to the District and its constituents.”

Disney is also countersuing the District for failing to provide the requested discovery.

A summary judgment hearing for the District’s suit against Disney has been delayed multiple times and is currently scheduled for July.

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