ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. DeSantis would prefer to see the federal lawsuit the Walt Disney Company filed against him dismissed, but if it has to go forward, his attorneys are pushing for a trial date in 2025 — a year after the presidential election he hopes to be a nominee in.
It’s the latest move in the feud between DeSantis and Disney.
A report filed Wednesday showed DeSantis’ attorneys asked to push the timeline of events for Disney’s federal lawsuit back, saying that the discovery phase should be delayed while attempts by the governor and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District to dismiss the case go through the court system.
Disney has requested a calendar that would include completion of expert discovery by March 15, 2024 — four days before the Florida presidential preference primary.
Disney says, however, that delaying the lawsuit process will allow the laws the company wants to be declared unconstitutional to continue to cause harm.
Disney also has suggested a trial date of July 15, 2024. That would put the start of the trial on the same day as the opening of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.
DeSantis is a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president.
DeSantis’ attorneys want to push the deadline for expert discovery to March 14, 2025, and the start of the trial to Aug. 4, 2025.
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Disney is suing DeSantis, the DEO secretary and the board of the newly-formed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, claiming the defendants violated the company’s constitutional rights in the Contract Clause, the Takings Clause and due process in reorganizing the Reedy Creek Improvement District and nullifying the district’s deal to hand over a substantial amount of power to Disney before the state passed the law that created the CFTOD.
Disney also claims the state’s actions were retaliatory and violated the company’s First Amendment rights because it spoke out against the governor and the Florida Legislature in the passage of the Parental Rights in Education law, known to critics as “Don’t Say Gay.”
This week, DeSantis’ attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming Disney has no standing to sue the governor since he does not, according to them, enforce the law, and is also protected by legislative immunity.
The board members of the CFTOD also filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
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