A three day pre-trial conference in the $1.9 billion dollar defamation lawsuit trial filed by Beef Products Incorporated against ABC Broadcasting is underway in Elk Point, South Dakota.
Judge Cheryle Gering began the hearing Tuesday morning in Union County District Court by first dealing with two motions involving media coverage of the proceedings.
Judge Gering reversed an earlier decision to allow audio recording of the pre-trial motions, because some of the motions deal with testimony that will occur in the trial that is slated to begin June 5th.
Audio coverage of those motions could potentially influence the jury pool.
The judge received no objection from either side on audio media coverage of proceedings once the trial is underway.
The lawsuit claims ABC News and reporter Jim Avila damaged B-P-I by referring in news reports to the company’s lean finely textured beef as “pink slime”.
\Following the media motions, the judge began hearing a series of motions from attorneys regarding expert witnesses expected to testify in the trial and terminology and testing that might be submitted as evidence.
Both sides came well staffed for the pre-trial with BPI represented by an eight team legal team and ABC News had a dozen attorneys and staff in the courtroom.