- U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier has ruled Beef Products (BPI), BPI Technology and Freezing Machines' lawsuit against ABC News, some of its journalists including Diane Sawyer, two former employees of the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service and a former BPI employee will be decided in the Circuit Court of Union County in South Dakota.
- Filed in September 2012, the lawsuit contends ABC News' use of the phrase "pink slime" constitutes defamation and misled consumers to believe BPI's lean finely textured beef (LFTB) was unsafe for consumption.
- The plaintiffs are seeking $1.2 billion in damages, claiming the defamation caused 700 employees to lose their jobs, the shuttering of three facilities and the loss of two to five million pounds of weekly LFTB sales.
From the article:
Karen Schreier, a U.S. District Judge, on Wednesday ruled BPI Technology had the right to assert its defamation claims and was a "real party in interest". Her ruling deprived the federal court of authority to hear the case because it lacked what's known as diversity jurisdiction.
Schreier said ABC's request—that she determine the merits of the case in ruling that plaintiff is not a real party in interest—was misguided. "Put simply, defendants are suggesting that the court make a determination about the merits of BPI Tech's claim before even deciding whether it has the authority to make such a determination. This is putting the cart before the horse," she wrote.