Disney's Bold Move: Why They're Focusing Lawsuit Against DeSantis on Free Speech!

Toni Koraza

Disney wants to limit the focus of its federal lawsuit against Ron DeSantis to merely a free speech claim that the governor of Florida retaliated against them due to its outspoken opposition to a state law.

The entertainment mogul asked a federal judge for permission to file an amended complaint that would only focus on the First Amendment claim.

Disney wants to leave a separate, state-court lawsuit about the legality of agreements the company signed with Disney World's governing district, which was then made up of Disney supporters.

The contracts were inked before DeSantis and the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature took control of the legislature in the spring.

The agreements gave Disney control over planning and building at the theme park resort instead of the newly appointed DeSantis board members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD).

In state court, the DeSantis appointees are contesting the agreements' validity. The state court complaint does not include DeSantis as a party.

"Disney faces concrete, imminent, and ongoing injury as a result of CFTOD's new powers and composition, which are being used to punish Disney for expressing a political view," according to Disney's federal court motion.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor denied Disney's effort to limit the scope due to a procedural requirement that Disney attorneys consult with DeSantis' attorneys before making such a request. 

The judge stated that Disney may resubmit its motion after adhering to the court's ruling. 

Disney's lawyers were contacted through email to request comments.

Disney publicly opposed a state law that forbade early-grades classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity, a policy known as "Don't Say Gay."

DeSantis then took over the district and appointed a new board of supervisors to supervise municipal services for the theme parks and hotels.

Do you think Disney's lawsuit should focus on free speech or contract disputes? What's your take?

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