SIOUX FALLS, S.D.
Lawyers for ABC News asked a judge Wednesday to toss out a $1 billion defamation lawsuit filed by a South Dakota-based meat processor over a meat product that critics dub “pink slime,” saying the news organization did not knowingly disparage the company or its product.
Beef Products Inc. sued ABC News Inc. in September, claiming the network damaged the company by misleading consumers into believing the product is unhealthy and 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 that a food product is unsafe. The Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based meat processor is seeking $1.2 billion in damages for roughly 200 “false and misleading and defamatory” statements about the product — officially known as lean, finely textured beef.
The lawsuit named American Broadcasting Companies Inc., ABC News Inc., ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer and ABC correspondents Jim Avila and David Kerley as defendants.