ABC News has settled the so-called pink slime case it has been battling for more than five years.
The settlement of the defamation lawsuit came in the midst of a trial in South Dakota in which Beef Products Inc. sued ABC News and correspondent Jim Avila for a series of news reports in 2012. BPI sued ABC for $1.9 billion for what it claimed were hundreds of “false and misleading and defamatory” statements about a product known as Lean Finely Textured Beef.
A South Dakota food-libel law could have tripled the damages. A settlement amount was not released.
“While this has not been an easy road to travel, it was necessary to begin rectifying the harm we suffered as a result of what we believed to be biased and baseless reporting in 2012,” BPI said in a statement. “Through this process, we have again established what we all know to be true about Lean Finely Textured Beef: it is beef, and is safe, wholesome, and nutritious.”
“ABC has reached an amicable resolution of its dispute with the makers of ‘lean finely textured beef,’ ABC News said in its statement. “Throughout this case, we have maintained that our reports accurately presented the facts and views of knowledgeable people about this product. Although we have concluded that continued litigation of this case is not in the Company’s interests, we remain committed to the vigorous pursuit of truth and the consumer’s right to know about the products they purchase.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer and David Kerley were also named in the suit early on, but dropped in January. The suit cited 11 TV and 14 online reports between March 7 and April 3, 2012. ABC is not retracting the stories. Viewers can still find them on their website.