BPI’s lawsuit against ABC news to continue
The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled May 22 that Beef Products Inc’s case against ABC and other defendants can proceed.
The decision also lifted a stay that was issued in April, allowing the lawsuit’s discovery process to begin.
BPI, headquartered in Dakota Dunes, S.D., filed the lawsuit in September of 2012. According to a PBI press release, “BPI alleges that ABC and others launched a concerted disinformation campaign against the companies, which had a significant adverse affect on BPI’s reputation, as well as a significant negative financial impact on the companies.”
The lawsuit was prompted by the network’s coverage of lean finely textured beef (LFTB), dubbed “pink slime” by a U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist.
In the complaint filed in 2012 in Circuit Court in Union County, South Dakota, BPI alleged that “ABC and the individuals named in the suit knowingly made false, defamatory and disparaging statements regarding BPI and LFTB during a disinformation campaign this spring. These statements were made even after BPI and others sent ABC factual information about LFTB, including conclusions from USDA, FDA, food safety organizations and numerous beef industry experts that LFTB is a safe, nutritious lean beef. As result of the disinformation campaign, BPI sales declined from approximately five million pounds of LFTB per week to less than two million pounds per week, three BPI facilities have closed and more than 700 employees lost their jobs.”
BPI is seeking $1.2 billion in damages.