ABC News ‘Pink Slime’ Lawsuit Sent Back To State Court

By Alex Weprin 

The “Pink Slime” lawsuit is moving back to state court, much to the chagrin of attorneys for ABC News, whoa argued that its proper jurisdiction was in federal court.

The case, if you aren’t caught up, involves an ABC News story that referred to a certain processed beef product as “pink slime.” The manufacturer of the product, BPI, argues that the report was defamatory, and that calling it pink slime” misled consumers into think it was unsafe and unhealthy.

ABC News, Diane Sawyer, Jim Avila and David Kerley were all named as defendants in the suit, which is seeking more than $1 billion in damages.


“This is purely a decision on what court will hear the case,” says ABC News in a statement. “The federal court was very clear that in sending this case to state court it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case.  The court stated that ABC and the other defendants have the right to move to dismiss the case in the state court, and ABC intends to do just that.”

The AP has details on the latest move.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier ordered the case back to the circuit court in Union County.

Erik Connolly, a lawyer for BPI, said the company is looking forward to presenting its case.

“We originally filed the case in state court because that was the proper jurisdiction,” Connolly said in an email. “The Court’s decision confirms we were correct.”

Lawyers for ABC wanted the suit moved to federal district court in South Dakota because it said the parties involved are all from different states. A lawyer for the broadcasting company did not immediately respond to a request for comment…

Lawyers for ABC News, in a motion to dismiss filed last year, argued that although the term “pink slime” may come across as unappetizing, it is not incorrect. Lean, finely textured beef is both pink and — like all ground beef — has a slimy texture, they argued.