Judge dismisses Disney's lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his allies

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A federal judge in Florida ruled that Disney lacked standing to sue DeSantis and that the company's claims against the governor's oversight committee failed on the merits.



CNN

A US judge dismissed Disney's lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his political allies, including a panel he appointed to oversee Disney's properties in Florida.

The judge's ruling is a victory for the governor's intense legal battle with the entertainment company.

The case filed by In April, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts accused DeSantis of using his political power as a weapon to punish the company for exercising free speech rights.

However, on Wednesday, a federal judge in Florida ruled that Disney lacked standing to sue DeSantis and that the company's claims against the governor's oversight committee fail on the merits.

In a statement to CNN, a Disney spokesperson said the company is not deterred by the ruling and plans to “press forward” with its lawsuit.

“This is an important case with serious implications for the rule of law that will not end here,” the spokesman said. “If left unchallenged, this would set a dangerous precedent and give states license to weaponize their official powers to punish the expression of political viewpoints with which they disagree. We remain committed to moving forward with our case.”

The now-dismissed lawsuit, filed by Disney after DeSantis signed a bill that gave him new authority over the 47-square-mile district that includes Walt Disney World Resort, is a jab at the ongoing legal and political battle between Disney and DeSantis.

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Disney previously had municipal control over the area surrounding its theme parks, but lost it after the passage of DeSantis' bill, which established the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which is now overseen by five people chosen by the governor.

The board has threatened to raise taxes, raise utility fees and develop land around the entertainment giant's Central Florida theme parks.

The conflict between Disney and Florida's Republican governor began nearly two years ago after Disney spoke out against a bill proposed by DeSantis that would have banned some instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida classrooms. Disney's then-CEO, Bob Chabeck, called the bill a “Don't Say Gay” bill by critics, a “challenge to basic human rights.”

In the April lawsuit, Disney accused DeSantis and the oversight board of punishing the company for speaking out against DeSantis' bill.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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