(Editor’s note: Since this post was last updated, we’ve learned from a reliable source that this case was moved to federal court at the request of George Kalogridis. Additionally, we have been unable to confirm that a motion asking to move the case from Florida is in existence.)
UPDATE: The attorney in this case has asked to move it out of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Orange County and to federal court, also requesting that the case be moved out of Florida since the plaintiff doesn’t live there and The Walt Disney Company is not headquartered there.
Source: WKMG ClickOrlando
Back in April of 2019, Hester Burkhalter, a 69-year-old woman from North Carolina, was arrested at Walt Disney World while attempting to enter the Magic Kingdom with her family.
While going through the security checkpoint, Burkhalter was asked to empty the contents of her bag which contained a one-ounce bottle of CBD oil – a federally legal substance – into a security bin.
According to her complaint, Burkhalter told security that she uses the CBD oil to treat advanced arthritis per her doctor’s recommendation. Although the bottle’s label clearly stated that it contained 0% THC, she was questioned on whether or not that ingredient was present and stated that she did not know. According to the complaint, an Orange County sheriff’s deputy tested the substance on the spot resulting in a negative result the first time and positive result the second time.
Burkhalter was then separated from her family and placed under arrest for felony drug possession. She was subjected to drug sniffing dogs, vomited during transport, and requested and was denied medical care, the complaint alleges. When Burkhalter arrived at the detention facility, she had her mug shot taken…”
Upon reaching the detention facility, Burkhalter then became the subject of an intense additional search and was held for 15 hours before her son was able to post bail. She wasn’t released until after midnight.
Attorney Ben Crump has filed a civil lawsuit on Burkhalter’s behalf against numerous entities including The Walt Disney Co. and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The lawsuit alleges “illegal detention, false arrest, and violation of civil rights. The suit requests $6 million in compensatory damages and $12 million in punitive damages for Burkhalter, as well as millions of additional dollars for her family.”