Attorneys representing Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis filed a motion Monday to dismiss Disney’s federal lawsuit over allegations of “government retaliation” against the company.
The suit, first filed in April, deals with Disney’s year-long battle with DeSantis after the company publicly opposed the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which forbids discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public school classrooms. After the DeSantis-appointed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD)— which covers Walt Disney World property, and which itself was created in response to Disney’s “Don’t Say Gay” stance — voted to void a 30-year developer contract enacted by the district’s Disney-controlled predecessor.
In the latest filing, the state’s lawyers did call Disney’s claims of retaliation “meritless for many reasons.” (DeSantis himself has made no secret that Disney’s opposition for the education law was the impetus for eliminating Disney’s control over the Disney World governmental district.)
The state’s precise reasons for dismissal, however, is that the federal “lacks jurisdiction” over state officials named as defendants in the suit, including DeSantis, and that the governor has “absolute legislative immunity” for his actions in proposing and signing legislation.
You can read the full motion to dismiss here. Disney has until July 26 to respond.
A countersuit by the DeSantis-appointed board is pending in state court, seeking to void the Disney contract. In that case, Disney was the party that filed a motion to dismiss, which will be decided in a hearing scheduled for July 14.