Disney could delay its federal lawsuit against Florida governor as part of settlement.

Orlando, Fla. — After settling state court action, an appellate judge granted Disney's request for a two-month pause in a federal lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his appointees to Walt Disney World's governing district on Monday.  

Disney asked the federal appeal court last Friday after settling two Florida cases with the DeSantis-appointed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District last month. After DeSantis took over the theme park's governing board, the corporation and district began litigating in state court over Disney World's future development.  

Disney settled by pausing the federal lawsuit, which is being appealed, while negotiating a new development agreement with DeSantis appointees. Disney loyalists ran the district for much of its 50 years until DeSantis appointees took over last year. It offers firefighting, planning, and mosquito control.  

Disney's opening brief for its federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals appeal was due next week, but it was extended to mid-June. The settlement ended almost two years of litigation begun by DeSantis' takeover of the district from Disney supporters after the company opposed Florida's Don't Say Gay law.  

The Republican governor, who used Disney as a punching bag in presidential speeches, championed the 2022 law, which outlawed early grade sexual orientation and gender identity instruction. He quit the race.  

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature gave DeSantis control of the governing district and installed a new board of supervisors as retribution for Disney's opposition to the controversial bill. Disney sued DeSantis and his appointees for violating its free speech rights by opposing the law. A federal judge dismissed the complaint in January, but Disney appealed.  

Before DeSantis appointees were appointed early last year, Disney allies on the board agreed to let Disney plan and build Disney World. The district sued the corporation in Orlando state court to dissolve the contracts after the new DeSantis appointees claimed the “eleventh-hour deals” limited their authority.  

Disney counterclaimed and requested the state court to uphold the agreements. The settlement nullified the development agreement and covenants granting Disney design and construction authority, and the new board agreed to follow a master plan from before DeSantis took over the district.  

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