A pink slime lawsuit filed against ABC to the tune of $1.2 billion in damages may soon be about to spoil.
A lawyer for the network on Tuesday asked a circuit judge to throw out the lawsuit brought on by Beef Products Inc., which claims American Broadcasting Companies Inc. defamed its product. The suit came after ABC News reported on the meat product that critics have called “pink slime.”
Beef Products Inc., a meat processing company that produces the lean meat product often used in hamburgers, claimed that the network damaged the company by misleading customers and defaming the product by using the name pink slime more than 100 times throughout its reports. As a result, customers were led to believe the product was unhealthy and unsafe, Beef Products Inc. claimed.
Kevin Baine, the lawyer representing ABC, said all the reports noted that the product was declared safe to eat by the FDA.
“ABC never hinted that this is unsafe,” Baine said. “ABC never quoted critics saying it is unsafe.”
But Beef Products Inc. claims otherwise in the pink slime lawsuit. While ABC did not outright say the product was unsafe, the reports were coupled with statements that the product was “not meat” and that the FDA may have overreached in declaring the product safe to eat.
The pink slime lawsuit will be a stretch for Beef Products Inc., legal experts claim.
University of Wisconsin journalism professor Bob Drechsel, who teaches media law, said it will take a lot on the company’s part to prove that ABC purposely misled viewers.
“It’s always an uphill battle for anyone to win a libel suit,” Drechsel told The Associated Press. “They’re going to have to prove that ABC falsely reported information, and they’re going to have to prove that ABC News knew that the stories were false or they had serious doubts about the truth.”
A judge will review the case, and said she will rule on the pink slime lawsuit at a later date but did not give a time frame.