Judge Makes High Controversial Decision In DeSantis Lawsuit

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

(TargetLiberty.org) – On Wednesday, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc., filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, accusing DeSantis of organizing a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” against the company which violated the Constitutional right to free speech. Disney filed the lawsuit following the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s attempt to invalidate two development contracts that Disney had previously signed in February. The board was recently appointed and selected by DeSantis.

In Friday’s order, the Florida federal judge, U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Fitzpatrick, who is presiding over the case recused himself due to a conflict of interest. As he wrote he is related “in the third degree” to a person who is employed by one of the parties in the lawsuit and as such his recusal from the case is necessary. The order is now set to be assigned to a different judge.

Disney’s filing details that DeSantis’ government had taken action that is “patently retaliatory, patently anti-business, and patently unconstitutional,” and that they had further stated that they do not intend to stop.

DeSantis’ office in response to the lawsuit commented on Disney’s special district status, stating that they are “unaware of any legal right that a company has to operate its own government or maintain special privileges” that no other company within Florida has.  Taryn Fenske, communications director for DeSantis, also pointed out that the lawsuit was another attempt to “undermine the will of the Florida voters and operate outside the bounds of the law.”

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