Beef Battle Continues With “Pink Slime” Defamation Lawsuit Headed Back To State Court

Remember that whole pink slime thing? Yeah, back before everyone in Europe was concerned about horsemeat in their burgers, America was freaking out over finely textured beef, dubbed “pink slime” by celebrity health advocates and news outlets. Beef Products Inc. sued ABC News and its parent company for defamation related to the scandal way back in September, and that lawsuit is still lumbering along with a move back to a state court from a federal one. Which is happy news for BPI, perhaps not so for the defendants.

The case had moved from South Dakota to a federal court, with ABC claiming that because the parties involved are all from different states, it should be a federal matter. But now a judge has sent it back to a circuit court in Union County, S.D., reports the Associated Press.

BPI’s lawyers sound well-pleased, saying the company is excited to present its case. It claims that the network mucked up its reputation by misleading consumers into thinking pink slime is unhealthy and unsafe. BPI wants $1.2 billion in damages. That’s a whole lot of burgers.

“We originally filed the case in state court because that was the proper jurisdiction,” BPI’s lawyer says. “The Court’s decision confirms we were correct.”

The federal judge had to send it to South Dakota, under the idea of diversity jurisdiction. That says that in order for a federal court to take a case, none of the defendants can hold citizenship in the same state as where any plaintiffs have citizenship. ABC News is incorporated in Delaware, as are two of the BPI companies, so that’s that.

BPI blames the closure of three plants and 700 layoffs on what it calls a smear campaign. But ABC News said last year that even if pink slime sounds grody, it’s correct because like all ground beef, it has a slimy texture.

Who’s ready for some grilling now, huh?

‘Pink slime’ lawsuit heads back to state court [Associated Press]