TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A federal lawsuit against the state of Florida and its officials is the latest battlefield in the state’s fight with the Walt Disney Company over its criticism of the recent Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics.

The court case, put forward by Orange and Osceola residents Michael Foronda, Edward Foronda, and Vivian Gorsky, named Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sec. of State Laurel Lee, and Department of Revenue Executive Director Jim Zingale as defendants.

Notably absent as defendants in the lawsuit were any of the lawmakers who drafted or voted for the law at the center of their civil case, Senate Bill 4-C: Independent Districts. As passed, the bill effectively dissolves Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District and five others in Florida, all set up before the state’s constitution was ratified in 1968.

As previously reported, the bill was drafted by Rep. Randy Fine (R-Brevard) and passed along purely partisan vote lines during the amended redistricting special session. The vote occurred without debate, due to the audibly loud protests of members of the state’s Democratic Caucus.

The complaint filed by the Forondas and Gorsky, all of whom live in Orange or Osceola counties, accuse the governor and other state officials of violating state statues and breaking legal contracts with the Walt Disney Company, agreed to when the Reedy Creek Improvement District was founded in 1967.

The plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing through their attorneys that the state has “passed the bill with the clear intended purpose of eliminating a special legal status” for Walt Disney World and “violates Florida taxpayers’ federal constitutional rights as well as their clearly delineated rights under the Florida Bill of Rights for Taxpayers.”

The lawsuit argues that the “stated and undisputed reason behind the bill is to punish Disney World and subsequently Florida taxpayers.” While the lawsuit notes the governor’s commentary that the punishment “will not affect central Florida taxpayers,” they cite news reports disputing this fact due to the contractual agreement between the state of Florida and the Walt Disney Company when the RCID was founded.

Particularly at issue is the section of the Reedy Creek charter, which reads in part that the state of Florida “will not limit or alter the rights of the District to own, acquire, construct, reconstruct, improve, maintain, operate or furnish the projects or to levy and collect the taxes, assessments, rentals, rates, fees, tolls, fares and other charges provided for in the Reedy Creek Act, and to fulfill the terms of any agreement made with the holders of any bonds or other obligations of the District.”

The charter also says that the state agreed to “not in any way impair the rights or remedies of the holders, and that it will not modify in any way the exemption from taxation provided in the Reedy Creek Act, until all such bonds together with interest thereon, and all costs and expenses in connection with any act or proceeding by or on behalf of such holders, are fully met and discharged.”

The lawsuit against Florida over the Disney deal accuses officials of welcoming “a fight with Disney on this matter,” but that officials do “not want to follow constitutional guidelines and previous legally enforceable agreements involving over $1 billion in bond issuances.”

According to the plaintiffs’ complaint, “experts” have said, “the new bill will probably lead to increased taxes for residents of the Orlando area,” and in other parts of Florida. The lawsuit also said SB 4C may lead to “thousands of jobs” leaving Florida, despite DeSantis’ claim that “Disney will have to pay more taxes” after dissolving Reedy Creek.

Orange County tax collector Scott Randolph spoke with WFLA.com’s Jeff Patterson about the dissolution. He said that the tax burden could still shift to area residents, despite the governor’s comments. However, with more than $1 billion due to the state in bonds, it is unclear if Florida can actually force Disney to dissolve until after the debts are paid, due to the contract agreed to by Florida’s government and the Walt Disney Company when they established Reedy Creek.

“Reedy Creek collects about $105 million in general revenue each year and then its debt obligation that it collects, also through property tax, is about $58 million a year,” Randolph explained, previously. He said it meant that could mean taxpayers are on the hook for a property tax increase as high as 20%.

As a result of these potential ends to the Disney battle in Florida, the plaintiffs say the state has violated its contractual and statutory obligations to the state’s taxpayers, and will not be able to defend their interests if the dissolution proceeds. Additionally, plaintiffs allege the taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in Florida, which provides residents and taxpayers with protections for application of revenue obligations, has been infringed upon through the passage of SB 4C.

The issue has also turned constitutional, with plaintiffs allegations arguing that by punishing Disney for its political opinions in opposition of House Bill 1557, it is a violation of free speech protections enshrined and enumerated in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. They allege the violation is also a blow to the plaintiffs’ 14th Amendment protections of due process of law.

Finally, the lawsuit claims the alleged retaliation by Florida’s government against the Walt Disney Company over their freedom of speech rights entitles the Florida taxpayers to relief due to protections in the state constitution for “remedy against a threatened wrongful proceeding.” That wrongful proceeding would be the state-operated and passed attack on Disney’s tax status over its free speech actions.

In summation, the Forondas and Gorsky seek declaratory and injunctive relief over Florida’s battle with Walt Disney World’s tax status and privileges as an unlawful attack against a company and state residents’ rights as taxpayers.