Posted October 24, 2013
 
A December hearing has been set for a motion to dismiss in a defamation lawsuit over ABC News’ coverage of a meat product called “pink slime,” according to an article by  KELO Land available here.  The motion to dismiss is available here.
 
The lawsuit was filed by Beef Products Inc. (BPI) and was moved from federal court to South Dakota circuit court in June.  BPI claims that ABC damaged the company by misleading consumers into believing that its signature product, “lean, finely textured beef,” is unhealthy and unsafe.  BPI is seeking $1.2 billion in damages.  BPI’s complaint is available here.
 
BPI officials say that the product is safe and the coverage led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs.
 
Attorneys for BPI filed four briefs late last week, opposing motions by ABC and other defendants to dismiss the case, according to an article by the Sioux City Journal, available here.  The briefs make similar arguments related to a series of reports in March 2012 by ABC anchor, Diane Sawyer and two other reporters involved, arguing that the evidence it is presenting shows the defendants “knew their statements and implications were false,” and that consumers were misled by the reports.  BPI’s opposition brief is available here.
 
BPI’s separate briefs relate to three other defendants: former U.S. Agriculture Department employees Gerald Zirnstein and Carl Custer, and former BPI employee Kit Foshee. 
 
The hearing is scheduled for December 17 at 1 p.m., according to the Union County Clerk’s office.

 

For more information on the product and the controversy, a Congressional Research Service report on the subject is available here.