Court Dismisses Disney Lawsuit Against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

2024-01-31 16:56:17

A federal court has dismissed Disney’s lawsuit against Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, which claimed his administration violated the company’s First Amendment rights by removing Disney World’s special district status in retaliation for the company attacking the state’s law barring teachers from discussing sexuality with pre-teen minors.

On Wednesday, the court argument began by saying that Disney lacked standing to sue the governor or his administration because, “When a statute is facially constitutional, a plaintiff cannot bring a free-speech challenge by claiming that the lawmakers who passed it acted with a constitutionally impermissible purpose.”

“Because Disney seeks injunctive relief, it must allege an imminent future injury, and it has not alleged facts showing that any imminent future appointments will contribute to its harm,” it said. “Disney struggled to articulate any injury attributable to the Secretary” or governor.

The court further argued that Disney has standing to sue district members of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CTFOD) but still lost on the merits. The court explained in its opinion that Disney had standing to sue the governor or his administration because, “When a statute is facially constitutional, a plaintiff cannot bring a free-speech challenge by claiming that the lawmakers who passed it acted with a constitutionally impermissible purpose.”

“Because Disney seeks injunctive relief, it must allege an imminent future injury, and it has not alleged facts showing that any imminent future appointments will contribute to its harm,” it said. “Disney struggled to articulate any injury attributable to the Secretary” or governor.

The case is Walt Disney Parks & Resorts v. DeSantis, No. 4:23-cv-163 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

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