As the owner of Theme Park Professor, I have difficulty toeing the line between my political alliances and those I represent on the website. I usually attempt to stay out of politics and gossip on TPP. However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has recently created a buzz over his blatant attacks on Disney. It has been weighing heavily on my mind. This morning I was happy to wake up to hear that Disney is finally fighting back.
WALT DISNEY PARKS AND RESORTS U.S. is suing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors that he has appointed. You can read the entire lawsuit HERE but we are going to give you the cliff notes below:
Disney is suing for “declaratory and injunctive relief.” Declaratory relief is where the court orders a party to pay monetary damages or take certain action under injunctive relief. When a party is requesting a declaratory judgment, the party is seeking an official declaration regarding the status of the controversy in the issue.
In the lawsuit, Disney cites, “A targeted campaign of government retaliation—orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech—now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.” They reference the Board of Supervisors officially voided Disney’s final agreement with the Reedy Creek Improvement District Board during this morning’s meeting and DeSantis’ threats of instituting new tolls and taxes in the district.
“Disney regrets that it has come to this,” the lawsuit states. “But having exhausted efforts to seek a resolution, the Company is left with no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect its cast members, guests, and local development partners from a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.”
Further on in the lawsuit, it reads, “It is a clear violation of Disney’s federal constitutional rights—under the Contracts Clause, the Takings Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the First Amendment—for the State to inflict a concerted campaign of retaliation because the Company expressed an opinion with which the government disagreed. And it is a clear violation of these rights for the CFTOD board to declare its own legally binding contracts void and unenforceable. Disney thus seeks relief from this Court in order to carry out its long-held business plans.”
Disney requests the following relief:
- A. Declare that the Legislative Declaration is unlawful and unenforceable because it abrogates Disney’s rights in violation of the Contracts Clause;
- B. Declare that the Legislative Declaration is an unlawful taking of Disney’s property rights without payment of just compensation in violation of the Takings Clause;
- C. Declare that the Legislative Declaration is unlawful and unenforceable because it was an arbitrary and irrational voiding of the Development Agreement and Restrictive Covenants in violation of the Due Process Clause;
- D. Declare that the Legislative Declaration is unlawful and unenforceable because it was enacted in retaliation for Disney’s speech in violation of the First Amendment;
- E. Declare that the Contracts remain in effect and enforceable;
- F. Declare that Senate Bill 4C and House Bill 9B are unlawful and unenforceable because they were enacted in retaliation for Disney’s political speech in violation of the First Amendment; Case 4:23-cv-00163-MW-MAF Document 1 Filed 04/26/23 Page 75 of 77 73
- G. Issue an order enjoining Defendants from enforcing the Legislative Declaration;
- H. Issue an order enjoining Defendants from enforcing Senate Bill 4C and House Bill 9B;
- I. Award Plaintiff its attorney’s fees and costs;
- J. Grant such other relief as this Court may deem just and proper.