Disney's Florida Suit Is Tossed

Company suggests it will appeal ruling in First Amendment case
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2024 4:13 PM CST
Disney's Florida Suit Is Tossed
Minnie and Mickey Mouse perform for guests during a musical show in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World last July in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.   (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

A federal judge threw out Disney's First Amendment lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday, finding that the company doesn't have legal standing to bring the case against the governor and the secretary of the state's Commerce Department. And the suit against members of the board of a special improvement district "failed on the merits," said Judge Allen Winsor, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Disney suggested it will appeal the ruling, saying in a statement, "We are determined to press forward with our case."

The company says the Florida government was retaliating against it for opposing the legislation, supported by DeSantis, known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill when it started to dismantle the district that provides services to the company's theme parks. "If left unchallenged, this would set a dangerous precedent and give license to states to weaponize their official powers to punish the expression of political viewpoints they disagree with," a company statement said Wednesday.

DeSantis filled the board with his supporters, but Winsor, who was appointed by former President Trump, said Disney did not show it suffered any harm because of that, per NBC News. This was "in the past," Winsor wrote. The state and Disney are still engaged in a legal case over land use agreements in a Florida court, per Politico. Florida officials did not immediately comment on Wednesday's ruling. DeSantis repeatedly brought up his battle with Disney in his recently ended presidential campaign. (More Walt Disney Co. stories.)

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