Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) Board of Supervisors, and others have been served a summons in the Disney vs DeSantis case in federal court. The summons was filed as executed yesterday, the same day that the Oversight District decided to sue Disney World in a State court.
The simultaneous lawsuits have a critical overlap – the enforcement or voiding of a Development Agreement between Disney World and the CFTOD. The Development Agreement allows Disney broad powers to develop and control not only their own land but also CFTOD land and development plans. The Development Agreement, Disney says, was legally entered into with the CFTOD (formerly the Reedy Creek Improvement District), and should be recognized as valid. Disney World is also asking the federal court to undo the bills that created the CFTOD, saying that the intention of DeSantis and his rubber-stamp legislature was to use government might to retaliate against Disney’s protected First Amendment speech when they voiced opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
An answer to the summons is required by May 22, 2023.
DeSantis has previously called Disney World’s lawsuit “meritless and political“. He also said that he would be signing an upcoming piece of legislation that would nullify the Development Agreement legislatively. This is in addition to the lawsuit that seeks to nullify the agreement legally by the CFTOD.
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