Beef company’s lawsuit against ABC News to continue
A judge in South Dakota has cleared the way to trial of a lawsuit claiming ABC News “pink slime” coverage caused $1.9 billion worth of damage to the business of Beef Products Inc., which makes the meat product tagged with the term, reports Peg Brickley of The Wall Street Journal.
Brickley writes, “Five years in the making, the case threatens ABC News with punishing damages over its coverage of lean, finely textured beef, or LFTB, a component of about 70% of the ground beef found on supermarket shelves in 2012, when the stories ran.
“Due to a South Dakota food-libel law that triples damages against those found to have knowingly lied about the safety of a food product, ABC News could be hit with as much as $6 billion in damages.
“The network stands by its reporting.
“‘We are pleased that the Court dismissed all claims against Diane Sawyer,’ ABC News said in a statement. ‘The Court has not ruled on the merits of the case against the other defendants, and we welcome the opportunity to defend the ABC News reports at trial and are confident that we will ultimately prevail.’ Decades of First Amendment law back ABC’s defense — its right to report truthfully on a newsworthy subject, what is in the nation’s food supply, the company’s lawyers say. Every broadcast said the meat product was safe.
“Beef Products says it was forced to close three of its four plants and erase hundreds of jobs when consumers recoiled. It declined to provide current production figures.”
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