Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are set to go head-to-head in two different courtrooms over issues related to free speech and the company’s control over the Walt Disney World Resort. 

The feud began over a year ago when Disney opposed Republican-led restrictions that banned classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

DeSantis worked with the legislature to rename the theme park’s long-standing governing district, Reedy Creek, and create a new board of conservatives picked by the governor. 

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Before the new board took over, Disney struck a development deal with the outgoing supervisors, cementing corporate control and granting it broad veto rights over later efforts to modify the park. 

The DeSantis-approved board declared it null and void, and Disney sued soon after. 

Disney accused the Governor of violating its constitutional right to free speech by using government power to retaliate against the company.

The case is expected to be heard in a Tallahassee federal court presided over by Chief Judge Mark E. Walker, who has previously ruled against DeSantis-approved legislation, including on free-speech issues. 

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Meanwhile, the new board’s case focuses on the legitimacy of the development agreement and is expected to be heard in a state court in Orange County, Florida. 

Legal experts say it is unlikely the two cases will be combined, as they each have a different set of allegations. 

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond specializing in constitutional law said: “The two cases are like ships in the night, and they’ll just proceed concurrently or in a similar time frame.”

Nevertheless, both cases address who should have governing power over Disney World and the surrounding area. 

Legal analysts predict either case would be appealed, meaning any decision from Judge Walker would make its way to a higher court.

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