A South Dakota judge Thursday refused to throw out the defamation lawsuit against ABC News related to its coverage of Beef Products Incorporated lean, finely textured beef.
BPI sued the tv network in 2012 seeking $1.2 billion in damages. Dakota Dunes based BPI claims ABC’s coverage led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs by misleading consumers into believing their product is unsafe.
Attorneys for ABC say the network in each of its broadcasts stated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed the product safe to eat.
The network news reports referred to BPI’s meat as “pink slime.” Judge Cheryle Gering dismissed some claims but allowed most to go forward.
Gering ruled that ABC is not protected against liability by saying in its news reports that the product is beef, is safe and is nutritious.
Jeffrey W. Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, noted that the ruling was on a preliminary motion to dismiss, not on the merits of the case.
Beef Products Inc. attorney Erik Connolly said the company is pleased with the ruling and the company looks forward to starting discovery and ultimately presenting our case to a jury.