Disney has requested a protective order in its state court battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' appointees over control of the governing district at Walt Disney World. The company wants to keep any proprietary information or trade secrets confidential and has asked for documents and depositions to be designated as such, with parties involved required to sign nondisclosure agreements. Disney argues that the litigation may involve the disclosure of trade secrets, as well as sensitive technical, financial, and personal information, which could cause significant harm if made public. The request was unopposed by the DeSantis appointees.
The dispute arose after legislation passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature last year transferred control of the district's board from Disney supporters to DeSantis appointees. Disney alleges that this was in retaliation for the company publicly opposing the state's "Don't Say Gay" law, which banned classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades. The company had previously had control over design and construction at Disney World through agreements signed by its supporters on the district's board. The new appointees claimed that these agreements undermined their authority and sued Disney to have them voided. In response, Disney has filed counterclaims, asking the court to declare the agreements valid and enforceable.
In addition to the state court battle, Disney had also filed a federal lawsuit against DeSantis and his appointees, alleging violations of the company's free speech rights. However, last week, a federal judge in Tallahassee dismissed the lawsuit, stating that Disney lacked standing in its claims against DeSantis, and its claims against the appointees lacked merit. Disney is currently appealing this ruling.
The outcome of the litigation will determine who controls the governing district at Walt Disney World and could have implications for the company's operations and decision-making within the district. The request for a protective order reflects Disney's desire to protect sensitive information from public disclosure, highlighting the potential harm it could cause if made available to the public. As the legal battle continues, both sides will present their arguments and evidence in court, and a resolution will be reached based on the merits of the case.