- A South Dakota judge on Thursday refused to throw out a defamation lawsuit against ABC related to its coverage of a meat product called lean, finely textured beef derisively called "pink slime."
- Beef Products Inc. sued the television network in 2012 seeking $1.2 billion in damages, contending that ABC's coverage mislead consumers into thinking the product is unsafe. It also argues that the loss of a market for the product resulted in the closure of three plants and about 700 layoffs.
- Attorneys for ABC argue that the network always stated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed the product safe to eat and defended the name"pink slime" as fitting for ground beef that's pink and has a slimy texture.
In her Thursday ruling, Judge Cheryle Gering dismissed some claims but allowed most to go forward. Gering ruled that ABC isn't protected against liability by saying in its news reports that the product is beef, is safe, and is nutritious. The original suit was filed in 2012, but it took until last June for a judge to rule that the case will be decided in the Circuit Court of Union County in South Dakota. While attentions are now being directed towards the case, the ruling seemed to be more concerned with the preliminary motion to dismiss and not the case itself. Jeffrey W. Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, said in a written statement: "We will defend our reporting vigorously on the merits."