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WDW Today: Disney Files New Motion in Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Suit


Florida - Monday January 1, 2024: WDW News Todayreports that Disney has filed a new Motion to Compel Discovery in its case against Governor DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) that he created. The motion asks the judge in the original state lawsuit to order CFTOD to turn over the discovery documents within seven days.

This latest action comes after Disney filed another lawsuit against the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District over their failure to turn over needed documents.

Disney claims that the CFTOD has failed to comply with Florida’s public records law, according to the WDW News Today report. Their new lawsuit against CFTOD is for unjustified delay and failure to produce records, failure to retain records, and failure to retrieve records. Disney alleges that these failures to comply with Florida’s public records law have led to a delay in the retrieval of a document they asked for seven months ago, in May of 2023.

Disney previously requested and received a 75-day continuance because, they stated, the District “has been dodging its obligations to produce concededly relevant discovery while rushing consideration of its motion for summary judgment.” Disney says they provided the District with discovery on August 29, 2023.

The new Motion repeats these claims and states that “intervention is now necessary” to retrieve the documents so Disney “can fairly defend itself against the District’s claims and advance its counterclaims.”

Since the Court’s November 17, 2023 Order granting the continuance, the District has continued to delay providing WDPR discovery. Despite agreeing to produce requested documents and acknowledging their relevance, the District has missed multiple production deadlines—including, most recently, the date it committed it would substantially complete its production—and produced only 888 documents since the Court continued the summary judgment hearing date. The District has also refused to respond to three of WDPR's. five interrogatories, which go to the heart of WDPR’s defenses and counterclaims. WDPR cannot let more time pass waiting for the District to fulfill its empty promises to produce the critical discovery WDPR needs both to defend against the District’s claims and advance its own counterclaims. Moreover, even with the new March 12, 2024 summary judgment hearing date, WDPR’'s deadline to file its opposition is only two months away. Absent the Court’s intervention, there is little hope that the District will produce outstanding discovery, not to mention with adequate time for WDPR to review it in advance of depositions or its deadline to submit its summary judgment opposition.

The unanswered interrogatories include requests for information about how the CFTOD Board members and District Administrator were chosen and whether they “were selected based on their willingness to continue the State’s campaign of retaliation against [Disney] for expressing a viewpoint that Governor DeSantis and his legislative allies disagree with.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Walt Disney Company initially clashed over the corporation’s opposition to a much-debated and controversial Florida lawregarding classroom instruction and discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools.