Disney Accuses DeSantis of Withholding Evidence, Demands Judge Take Action

in Disney, Walt Disney World

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis smiling awkwardly with Mickey Mouse

Credit: Inside the Magic

The Walt Disney Company says that the Florida board handpicked by Governor Ron DeSantis is “dodging its obligations” and wants a judge to do something about it.

Ron DeSantis speaking and looking down
Credit: Wikimedia

The legal battles between Disney and Ron DeSantis have been going on for months now, to the point where the governor is openly asking the iconic media company to walk away from two different lawsuits because he’s “over it.” While that is not a legal strategy that is likely to gain much traction, it indicates where things currently stand with the case over the newly formed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

Related: Disney No Longer Holding Back in Fight Against Desantis Board, Former Board Leader Court Ordered

Disney, DeSantis, and Districts

Disney and DeSantis are currently locked in two different lawsuits, both originating (more or less) in the public feud between the governor and the company after the latter’s former CEO Bob Chapek made a tepid public statement against the controversial Parental Rights in Education Act (better known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law).

Ron DeSantis speaking, edited to look like he is in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort.
Credit: Inside the Magic

An escalating series of events eventually saw DeSantis dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the special tax district around Walt Disney World that had allowed the company to essentially act as local government for decades, replacing it with his own Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, complete with a board of directors appointed by him.

Related: DeSantis Disney Appointee Resigns After Breaking Florida State Law

However, Walt Disney World countered with legal maneuvers and contracts that removed much of the new board’s power, essentially nullifying district authority and keeping much of the old Reedy Creek Improvement District status quo intact.

Unsurprisingly, the board sued to have those contracts declared void. Even more unsurprisingly, Disney sued right back.

Alleged Dodged Obligations

Now, the Walt Disney Company is claiming that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has been dragging its collective feet over the lawsuit and demanding a judge delay any further action until it provides needed legal documents for the case (per AP News).

Reedy Creek on the left and Governor Ron DeSantis on the right
Credit: Inside the Magic

In a court filing, Disney alleges that the new district “failed to produce a single document for nearly two months following Disney’s requests, broke commitments to agreed-upon deadlines, and remains in possession of discovery that Disney needs to develop its summary judgment opposition.”

The company is requesting that a Florida state judge deny a summary judgment (requested by the district) for two and half months and that the evidentiary papers be produced. The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has not yet responded to requests for a statement.

Related: Dozens of Employees Quit over DeSantis’ “Incompetent” Disney Takeover

The hearing for the case is currently scheduled for December.

The First Amendment

In addition to the Florida state lawsuit over the tax district, Walt Disney World and DeSantis have an ongoing federal lawsuit over the governor’s alleged infringement of the corporation’s right to make public statements without reprisal from government officials. DeSantis has denied that the dissolution of the Reedy Creek Improvement District and his other jabs at Disney as being politically motivated.

Who do you think will win in the Disney-DeSantis lawsuits? Should either party concede? Giver us your thoughts in the comments below!

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