Disney Worldwide Services has dropped all but one claim in its lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron Desantis for alleged political retaliation against its company.
The lawsuit stems from Disney’s attempts to have the theme parks in the state reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney had cited state and local guidelines issued by Governor Desantis that imposed various restrictions on the reopening and operation of the famed attraction, and the company cited political involvement in the decision-making process as a retaliatory measure.
The case had been brought before Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals, where Disney was seeking an injunction to allow theme parks to safely reopen. However, Disney’s legal team has now withdrawn all but the allegation of illegal retaliation related to the free speech rights of the company’s employees. According to the complaint, Governor Desantis had attempted to censor and punish employees for choosing to speak out publicly against the opening of the parks.
Disney originally filed the lawsuit in July 2020, and the company was pushing for an expedited review from the court. They have withdrawn their request for immediate relief, and the case is currently pending with the appeals court.
Disney’s original lawsuit stated that the Governor was attempting to retaliate against the company for its political and economic stances, and cited the different restrictions imposed on the parks as proof of this. Disney also alleged that by preventing the reopening of the parks, Governor Desantis was being unlawfully discriminatory towards Disney and its employees.
Despite Disney’s withdrawal of most of its claims, the company is still pressing ahead with its free speech-related claims. While the court has yet to rule on the issue, Disney’s allegation is likely to receive close scrutiny given the public attention this case has drawn. If successful, Disney’s case could be precedent-setting in the realm of political retaliation and censorship in Florida.