Ron DeSantis Files Motion to Dismiss Disney Lawsuit, Claims ‘Legislative Immunity’

Florida state attorneys call the studio’s suit over its special district status “meritless for many reasons”

Ron DeSantis (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Ron DeSantis (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Attorneys for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis filed a motion on Monday to dismiss the Walt Disney Co’s lawsuit against him, claiing it is “meritless” and that the governor has “legislative immunity.”

“The Governor also is entitled to legislative immunity, which shields both governors’ and legislators’ actions in the proposal, formulation, and passage of legislation,” stated the motion.

It’s the latest in the legal battle between the Republican presidential hopeful and the studio, which began with clashes over Florida’s now-binding “Don’t Say Gay” law, and led to DeSantis stripping Disney of its “sweetheart deal,” the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which had been in place since 1967.

Attorneys went on to bash Disney’s “carte blanche,” writing that the RCID meant that “Disney could exercise eminent domain, permitting it to annex territory even outside the District’s borders, all without legislative approval. It could build and operate an airport, or even a nuclear power plant.”

In 2022, DeSantis created the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, designed to “[rein] in RCID’s outsized authority.”

When Disney lawyers found a loophole, claims DeSantis’ attorneys argue that suing the governor is a “last-ditch power grab [that was] foiled under state law.” Attorneys for the state also argued that the federal district court lacks jurisdiction to sue DeSantis and the Secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Representatives for Disney did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

In May, Disney canceled a proposed $1 billion project in Lake Nona, Florida, that would have relocated several divisions, including Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Publishing, to the Sunshine State.