Less than a week after it was first filed, a lawsuit from three Florida residents challenging the new state law that would eliminate Disney World’s governmental district has been dismissed.
The plaintiffs had argued that because the district’s elimination in June 2023 would lead to increased burden on taxpayers in Orange and Osceola Counties, they had standing to challenge the law passed by Florida Republicans last month.
Their suit also argued that the law was a violation of Disney’s Amendment rights, as Florida Gov. DeSantis made it clear in public statements that the legislation was spurred by Disney calling for the repeal of another law, dubbed by its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga, an appointee of President George W. Bush, cited multiple reasons for dismissing the suit, ranging from a federal court’s lack of jurisdiction over state law to rejecting the plaintiffs’ arguments that the law would harm them.
“The challenged law does not apply to them, they do not allege direct harm as a result of the challenged law, and they do not plausibly allege any credible threat of direct harm in the future,” Altonaga said. “Plaintiffs’ theory of standing is that the elimination of the Reedy Creek Improvement District might result in financial harm to Plaintiffs by virtue of a tax increase that has not yet been enacted.”
She also wrote that the three Florida residents could not bring a suit arguing Florida violated Disney’s First Amendment rights without demonstrating that Disney was hindered from filing its own complaint.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, William Sanchez, who is also a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, said he would refile the suit next week.
“This is just the beginning of the battle, as we are attempting to achieve justice for Florida taxpayers,” Sanchez wrote in a statement, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Disney has been largely silent on the law targeting Reedy Creek and has not yet mounted any kind of court challenge. The Disney-controlled district did file a statement late last month with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board claiming that the state would be violating the 1967 law dissolving the district without paying off its bond debts.