Disney Seeks Mediation, But DeSantis Says Mediation Wouldn’t Be Productive in First Amendment Fight Headed to Federal Court

In a court filing last month in the Disney vs DeSantis lawsuit, Disney suggested mediation, but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ legal team said that mediation would not be productive. The statements were made in a Joint Report issued by Disney and DeSantis’ legal counsel. The report gained media attention due to the suggested timelines from the competing counsel where DeSantis’ team pushed for a trial date after the 2024 Presidental Election had been completed. Disney suggested a July 15, 2024 trial start date.

As part of the report, Disney Parks said that “early mediation may be beneficial in this case” and suggested a mediation deadline of November 1, 2023. DeSantis’ team responded by stating that they “do not believe mediation would be productive in this case” at this time.

The counsel report seems to support the notion that Disney CEO Bob Iger has been very open to meeting with DeSantis to discuss the situation. Back in April, Iger told Time “…if the governor of Florida wants to meet with me to discuss all of this, of course, I would be glad to do that”. Iger continued, “You know, I’m one that typically has respected our elected officials and the responsibility that they have, and there would be no reason why I wouldn’t do that”.

To the contrary, DeSantis has made Disney part of his stump speech for his Presidential ambitions, saying that he was “not backing down one inch” as he kicked off his campaign in Iowa in June.

The war of words between Iger, who called DeSantis’ retaliatory moves “anti-business” and “anti-Florida”, and DeSantis, who has repeatedly used Disney as a punching bag for his culture wars, has mostly been one-sided of late, with Disney sticking to court documents to plead its case.

The next significant milestone in the federal case is an August 9th deadline for Disney to respond to DeSantis’ recently filed Motion to Dismiss. A deadline for the court to rule on various issues brought forth in the Report was not immediately available.

Of course, a state-level case is currently moving through the Orange County court system now, with the most recent action being that of a response by the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which is the Plaintiff in that case, to Disney’s Motion to Dismiss the state-level case and rely on the federal case.

Both cases target a Development Agreement between the CFTOD (formerly the Reedy Creek Improvement District) and Disney World. DeSantis, the Florida Legislature, and the CFTOD Board of Supervisors seek to void the contract that Disney World wants to keep in place. Furthermore, in the federal case, Disney is arguing that DeSantis and his hand-selected Board of Supervisors are retaliating against Disney for Disney’s protected free speech in opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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