Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

Disney Countersues Central Florida Tourism Oversight District in State Court

Disney has countersued the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. This comes shortly after the district asked for a summary judgement backing its agenda on its lawsuit against Disney. It also comes after Governor Ron DeSantis told Disney that it should just drop its lawsuit and the he had “moved on.” Apparently Disney hasn’t moved on and has no intention of moving on and has every intention of protecting its freedom of speech and a development agreement it made earlier this year.

The countersuit is in response to the one brought by the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. It asks the state court to force the district to comply with a development agreement between Walt Disney World Resort and the Reedy Creek Improvement District. This was the former iteration of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

After the Reedy Creek Improvement District was replaced with the new district the development agreement was discovered. This led to Governor DeSantis and the Florida legislature pushing through a law to allow the new district to nullify the deveopment agreement. In effect, it said that the new district could simply and arbitrarily cancel contracts.

“As a direct and proximate result of the District’s anticipatory repudiations and, in the alternative, material failure to perform its duties under both contracts, Disney has suffered and will continue to suffer damages, including consequential damages,” Disney attorneys wrote.

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District argues that the development agreement was a “backroom deal” that was “tie the hands of the new, independent board.” However, the evidence is to the contrary on this.

Disney also echoed some arguments it made in its federal lawsuit against Governor DeSantis and other Florida leaders, including the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. This was done by pointing out that the actions were retaliation against Disney’s free speech, which is protected by the First Ammendment.

“The district’s retaliatory interference with the contracts, via the legislative declaration and its predicates, has chilled and continues to chill Disney’s protected speech,” Disney’s legal team wrote.

“This unconstitutional chilling effect is particularly offensive here due to the express retaliatory and punitive intent that has motivated the District’s and the State Legislature’s actions, at the Governor’s directive,” the company’s legal team continued.

Margaret H Schreiber is the judge for this case. Judge Schreiber declined to toss the initial lawsuit when Disney asked for it to be dismissed.