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Disney Drops All Demands Except Free Speech In Political Retaliation Action Against DeSantis


disney Thursday changed his federal lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to focus solely on his First Amendment claim that the governor retaliated politically against the company.

Disney had asked last week to drop its other claims in the case, which relate to a dispute over Walt Disney World development contracts, as they are being actively pursued in a separate lawsuit at the state level of Florida.

“We will continue to fight vigorously to defend these contracts because these agreements will determine whether or not Disney can invest billions of dollars and generate thousands of new jobs in Florida,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC. .

The revision, which denies four claims previously made by Disney in this case, reduces the company’s federal civil complaint to 48 pages, down from 84 in the previous version.

Disney Drops All Demands Except Free Speech In Political Retaliation Action Against DeSantis

It’s the latest legal incident in two lawsuits Disney has filed over its long battle with DeSantis that began last year, when the company publicly denounced the controversial classroom bill dubbed ” Don’t Say Gay” by critics.

DeSantis has reflected on the culture war battles as governor and on the campaign trail as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.

After Disney spoke out against the bill, which limits classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity, DeSantis and his allies targeted the special tax district that had allowed Disney to self-govern. effectively its Orlando-area theme parks for decades. The governor signed measures changing the district’s name — from Reedy Creek Improvement District to Central Florida Tourism Oversight District — and replacing its five-member board of oversight with his own picks.

Before the new board took office, Disney drew up development contracts that it said were intended to secure its future investments in Florida. In April, DeSantis’ board voted to rescind those contracts, prompting Disney to file a federal lawsuit.

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The board filed suit in Orange County state court a few days later.

Following Disney’s latest amendment to its federal complaint, the board said it was “pleased that Disney has backtracked on these lawsuits against the District in its federal case.”

“Disney’s latest legal decision brings them into line with the position the District has been advocating for months now: that these issues should be decided in state court. We hope this will help expedite justice for the people of Florida. “said Alexei Woltornist, a spokesperson for the district, in a statement to CNBC.

In that state-level case, Disney filed counterclaims — including a claim for breach of contract — and seeks damages against the board. Earlier Thursday, the board asked the court to dismiss Disney’s counterclaims.