To avoid potential financial conflicts of interest, the federal judge appointed to hear Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has withdrawn from the case.
In court filings, the judge, Mark Walker, noted that 30 shares of The Walt Disney Company stock were held by “a relative within the third degree” and that the case’s conclusion could impact the shares. Walker claimed that he had recently learned of the dispute.
A “third degree” relative can be a cousin, great-grandparent, great-aunt or uncle, or a half-aunt or uncle; the judge did not identify who the related was.
Judge Allen Winsor, a choice of President Donald Trump, who is opposing DeSantis for the 2024 presidential nomination, will now hear the case.
Under former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who would eventually represent Trump during his first impeachment hearing, Winsor served as the state’s solicitor general.
Walker had been asked to step out from the case by the DeSantis administration, who claimed that his comments regarding Disney in previous, unrelated matters prevented him from being objective.
Walker barred himself from hearing Disney’s complaint due to the ethical conflict even though he denied that particular request, calling it “meritless” and accusing DeSantis of “rank judge-shopping.”
A former Obama administration appointee, Walker had previously obstructed a DeSantis-backed measure that limited how companies could implement diversity, equity, and inclusion training.
DeSantis accused Disney of “forum shopping” for a judge “who rules against us all the time” since the entertainment business didn’t file its lawsuit in state court in an interview with the British publication The Telegraph in April.
Instead, Disney sued DeSantis in April in the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida, alleging that he attempted to “weaponize government power” against the company when it threatened to work to repeal a law that places strict restrictions on how and when LGBTQ topics can be taught in public schools. DeSantis was at the time on an international trade mission.
If you are interested to know more about other trending news, then read our other articles here:
- Mayor Of Sacramento Is A Top Target For Gavin Newsom’s Judicial Nomination
- Conservative News Outlets Show How Republicans Are Divided
The lawsuit alleged that DeSantis and his staff have engaged in “a targeted campaign of government retaliation” against Disney, which has been “orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech.”
Disney issued a warning, saying the governor’s actions “threaten Disney’s business operations, jeopardize its economic future in the region, and violate its constitutional rights.”
“A targeted campaign of government retaliation—orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech—now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.” pic.twitter.com/1baIBvfNaN
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) April 26, 2023
The parent business of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Walt Disney Co., is headquartered in Burbank, California. Still, Walt Disney World, which employs around 70,000 people and is the state’s top tourist destination, gives the firm significant influence in Florida.
The corporation filed a lawsuit after DeSantis threatened to modify Disney’s special tax district with support from the Florida legislature and a board he formed to monitor the region. The company had recently laid off 7,000 employees.
The governor even proposed the construction of a state prison on adjacent land, in addition to submitting higher taxes, more rules, the structure of workforce housing, and the investigation of the sale of utilities the district holds.
The board counter-sued Disney in state court, claiming that Disney’s plan to keep ownership of its land was “riddled with procedural and substantive defects” and requesting that the 9th Judicial Circuit in Central Florida declare the project “void and unenforceable.”
We hope this article will satisfy your needs and that you will enjoy it. If you found this post helpful, kindly comment in the area below. We appreciate your support and hope you continue to see our articles as informative and helpful.