Monday, January 21, 2013

UPDATE: Pink Slime Headed Toward South Dakota Court?

Map of South Dakota highlighting Union County
Map of South Dakota highlighting Union County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
United States District Court for the District of South Dakota Judge Karen Schreier will hear
 arguments from Beef Products, Inc (BPI) seeking to remand its $1.2 billion defamation suit against ABC News to state court, Reuters wire service reported.

The case, Beef Products Inc. et al. v. American Broadcasting Cos. et al (Case No. 12-292), brought last year by the nation's largest producer of lean finely textured beef filler unaffectionately dubbed pink slime,  (See "TUOL" post 9/14/12) alleges the defendants, including anchor Diane Sawyer, harmed the plaintiffs' reputation by alleging the filler, made from ammonia-sprayed fatty trimmings, was not "meat" and harmful to the public.

Plaintiffs' counsel contended in papers filed in federal court last week that the South Dakota state court is the proper forum to hear the case because  BPI Technology, Inc. and Freezing Machines, two entities the plaintiffs allege are related to the suit, do business in South Dakota. The two companies, as well as BPI, are owned by Eldon and Regina Roth, according to the Reuters story.

The case was originally filed last September in Union County (S.D.) Circuit Court before ABC removed the action to federal court. The defendants have moved to have BPI Technology and Freezing Machines dropped as parties to the case and sought dismissal of the entire suit.  Plaintiffs, who also are seeking punitive damages, could possibly, if successful in their suit, receive treble damages under South Dakota's Agricultural Food Products Disparagement Act.

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