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Lawyers: 'Pink Slime' Lawsuit An Uphill Climb

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Legal experts say a South Dakota beef processor that is suing ABC News for defamation faces a steep climb for a victory in court.

Beef Products Inc. sued ABC News, Inc. for defamation Thursday over its coverage of a meat product that critics dub "pink slime." The company alleges that the network created an inaccurate impression that the product is unsafe.

The lawsuit seeks damages under South Dakota's defamation law, as well as a 1994 state law that allows businesses to sue anyone who knowingly spreads false information about a food product. A company lawyer says BPI will seek $1.2 billion in damages.

Drake University law professor Neil Hamilton says BPI may struggle to convince a jury that the news stories were defamatory or that harm was intended.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beef Products Inc. has filed a defamation lawsuit against ABC News for its coverage of a meat product that critics dubbed "pink slime," alleging the network misled consumers to believe the product is unhealthy and unsafe.

The Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based company is seeking $1.2 billion in damages for roughly 200 "false and misleading and defamatory" statements about the product. The lawsuit, filed in a South Dakota court Thursday, also accuses ABC News of improper interference with the relationships between BPI and its customers.

BPI attorney Dan Webb says the reports led consumers to believe the beef is not meat, but an unhealthy slime unfit for human consumption.

ABC News senior vice president Jeffrey W. Schneider says the lawsuit has no merit. ABC News is owned by The Walt Disney Co.


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