DeSantis Wins Legal Victory Over Partisan Disney World District Lawsuit

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Ron DeSantis claimed a legal victory after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging a Florida law that dissolved Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District. 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three residents of Orange and Osceola counties by William Sanchez, a Miami lawyer and Democratic US Senate candidate against Marco Rubio.

It alleged that the law which eliminates Disney’s ability to operate an independent governmental entity around its Orlando-area theme parks unconstitutionally threatens residents with higher taxes, abridges free speech rights, and violates a contractual obligation. The entertainment giant enjoyed privileges through a special municipal district that encompasses Walt Disney World and its resorts, including access to the lower-cost municipal debt market for certain projects. 

Because the law’s provisions aren’t in effect yet, U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga added that the claims were premature as she found the law wouldn’t affect the plaintiffs anyway, who therefore lack standing to sue.

“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 wrote.

While they said in their suit that they feared they would have to assume the tax burden that Disney currently pays under its special tax status, the judge shrugged off the claim.

“That indirect and highly speculative alleged injury cannot support federal jurisdiction,” she wrote

DeSantis signed a law in April that will dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District after Disney announced its opposition to the state’s new parental rights law.

Ed Gonzalez

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