DeSantis claims victory as federal judge dismisses Disney lawsuit against Florida

"As stated by Governor DeSantis when he signed HB 9-B, the Corporate Kingdom is over," reminded Jeremy Redfern, the governor's press secretary.

DeSantis claims victory as federal judge dismisses Disney lawsuit against Florida
Joe Burbank /Orlando Sentinel via AP, File
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On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis scored a victory in his conflict with Disney, as a federal judge ruled in favor of dismissing a lawsuit filed by Disney. The lawsuit alleged that DeSantis and his team had improperly retaliated against the entertainment giant following its opposition to Florida's parental rights laws.

The decision highlights that Disney's campaign against the state's efforts to safeguard children and support parental authority was ultimately futile, leading to substantial financial losses and internal upheaval, including high-level executive departures, without achieving its intended goals, Townhall reports.

U.S. District Court Judge Allen Winsor ruled that "Disney lacks standing to sue" the state of Florida, its Secretary of Commerce, and the governing body overseeing the land occupied by Walt Disney World, over which the company previously had control.

Additionally, the judge found Disney's allegations against Florida officials to be without merit, stating it "fails on the merits" 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."

In his decision, Judge Winsor approved Florida's requests for dismissal and issued the following verdict:

This case was resolved on motions to dismiss. Plaintiff's claims against the Governor and the Department Secretary are dismissed without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff's claims against the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board members are dismissed on the merits for failure to state a claim.

"As stated by Governor DeSantis when he signed HB 9-B, the Corporate Kingdom is over," said Jeremy Redfern, the governor's press secretary. "The days of Disney controlling its own government and being placed above the law are long gone. The federal court's decision made it clear that Governor DeSantis was correct: Disney is still just one of many corporations in the state, and they do not have a right to their own special government," Redfern noted. "In short — as long predicted, case dismissed."

Following the adverse decision, a spokesperson for Disney asserted that this "important case...will not end here," and emphasized that allowing Florida's conduct to go "left unchallenged" would establish a "dangerous precedent." This precedent would enable states to misuse their authority to penalize expressions of dissenting political opinions, the company argued.

Disney further stated its commitment to "determined to press forward with our case," though the exact nature of their forthcoming actions remains uncertain.

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