Disney versus DeSantis

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Hearing Delayed After District and Governor DeSantis Drag Feet

A judge has ruled that the hearing for a lawsuit will be moved from December 2023 to March 2024 after Disney filed a motion for continuance. Disney said that it filed this motion “because the district has not yet produced vital discovery [and] the current date deprives Disney of the opportunity to ‘present facts essential to justify its opposition.’ Judge Schreiber apparently agrees.

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

In the motion, Disney shared that it actually does share the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s desire to quickly resolve the case. However, it cannot [do so] at the cost of developing relevant facts.” Disney also noted that the district “failed to produce a single document for nearly two months following Disney’s request, broke commitments to agreed-upon deadlines, and remains in possession of discovery that Disney needs to develop its summary judgment opposition.” The “Discovery” is in reference to the documents and other evidence which is exchanged between both parties.

In the initial motion Disney claimed that the lack of receiving the requested discovery that was given to them by the District “deprive[d] [the company] of the time needed to compile this record in support of its opposition.” Judge Schreiber agreed with this and the hearing has been pushed back into March 2024. A specific hearing date has not been officially set at this time. The district did produce 1,209 documents on October 24th after business hours. However, the documents were not from any of the summary judgement declarants or members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board.

Reedy Creek Improvement District

This lawsuit is just one of several that could help determine the future of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, formerly the Reedy Creek Improvement District. While this one is at the state level and was brought against Disney by the current district board, there is another countersuit brought against the district by Disney as well. There is also a federal lawsuit that was filed against the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board, Governor DeSantis, and other Florida leaders that allege Disney’s First Amendment rights were violated when the company came out against a law that was supported by Governor DeSantis.

After coming out against the law, Governor DeSantis began to wage a verbal campaign that then led to an outright attack on the company, eventually dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District and replacing it with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The new district was mainly the same as the old but with board members appointed by the Florida Governor. The new board and Governor discovered deals that were made with the previous district that it then decided to nullify. This led to Disney filing the federal lawsuit accusing those parties involved of violating First Amendment rights and also government retaliation. Since then, there have been other moves by the Florida Governor and governments to mitigate Disney’s control of the district and give it to supporters of the Governor. At this point it appears that the resolution will end up coming from the courts and not through the state legislature or district.

What do you think of the most recent update in this state court case? Is it the correct move? Share your thoughts and opinions on this case in the comments below!


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