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Judge Asked to Rule in Favor of DeSantis’ Appointees Against Disney Without Trial

Members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, appointed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have requested a judge to rule without trial in their favor against Disney. The case revolves around the governor’s takeover of a board that oversees Walt Disney World. The members of the oversight district are seeking a summary judgment on five out of the nine counts in their case.

This legal battle between Disney and DeSantis stems from the company’s public opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, which the governor and Republican lawmakers supported. In addition to this state court case, there is also a federal lawsuit filed by Disney alleging that DeSantis violated the company’s free speech rights.

It’s noteworthy that DeSantis is not directly involved in the state court case. His appointees accuse Disney of unlawfully taking away their powers over design and construction at Disney World by making agreements with previous board members who were supportive of the company. The appointees argue that these agreements were made without proper notice and unlawfully delegated government authority to a private entity.

While Disney had requested the dismissal of the lawsuit, the judge denied their request last month, allowing the case to proceed.

The feud between DeSantis and Disney began when the company openly opposed a state law banning lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades. DeSantis responded by taking over the district and appointing a new board of supervisors to oversee municipal services for the theme parks and hotels. However, the new supervisors’ authority was limited due to the agreements previously made by Disney.

In response to this, DeSantis and Florida lawmakers passed legislation to repeal those agreements.

The governor has made this conflict with Disney a significant part of his campaign for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, often denouncing the company as being too “woke.” On the other hand, Disney has accused DeSantis of violating their First Amendment rights.

In an interview with CNBC, DeSantis called on Disney to drop their lawsuit, stating that he has moved on from the feud and believes they will lose the case.

It remains to be seen how this legal battle will unfold and what implications it might have for the relationship between Disney and the state of Florida.

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