Judge Dismisses Disney’s Claim Against Florida Gov. DeSantis as Baseless

(LibertySons.org) – In April 2023, the Walt Disney Company sued Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), claiming he used the power of the state government to attack a private company. Disney publicly denounced the governor’s previous move of signing the Parental Rights in Education Law, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.” Seemingly in response, DeSantis stripped the company of its previous status, a move Disney called unconstitutional.

On January 31, CNBC reported that Judge Allen Winsor dismissed the company’s federal lawsuit against DeSantis, claiming it had no legal standing to sue. The judge cited a previous ruling stating that a plaintiff can’t sue on First Amendment grounds by stating that legislators passing a “facially constitutional” law “acted with a constitutionally impermissible purpose.”

Winsor said that Disney must prove standing. That standing is subject to three elements. According to the judge, the plaintiff only showed standing against the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) defendants and not the governor. He said the “constitutional injury” caused by Disney’s loss of Reedy Creek can be “clearly” traced to the new board. In order to go after Governor DeSantis, Winsor said Disney would have to show “imminent future injury,” not past actions, because the company is seeking “injunctive relief.” He also said the company lacks standing to sue the Commerce Department secretary.

In the end, Judge Winsor dismissed the case against DeSantis and the secretary for lack of jurisdiction and the case against the CFTOD board for “failure to state a claim.”

A Disney spokesperson told CNBC the company would appeal the decision, stating if “left unchallenged,” it would give the state governments permission to “weaponize their official powers” against anyone with whom they disagree.

Martin Garcia, chairman of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, said she was “delighted” with the judge’s decision. Still, CNBC reported that the dismissal doesn’t affect another lawsuit brought by Disney against the CFTOD board concerning a previous development agreement.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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