BPI and ABC News Respond to Newest Court Ruling

The latest ruling in the Beef Products Inc. (BPI) case against ABC News is moving the lawsuit forward.

Thursday, Siouxland News was the first to bring you the newest details on this case.

A day later, Siouxland News Reporter Beairshelle Edmé has more reaction from the two sides.

Judge Cheryle Gering's ruling completely threw out ABC's motions made this past December to dismiss this case altogether.

In a statement, the news network said despite the decision of the Union County judge, it's prepared to fight BPI's allegations in court.

Meanwhile, BPI is ready to finally show the evidence behind its case.

Thursday's ruling by THE South Dakota judge finally moves the BPI versus ABC lawsuit toward a jury.

But despite that decision, ABC's Senior Vice President Jeffrey Schneider said, "This was a ruling on a preliminary motion to dismiss, not a ruling on the merits. We will defend our reporting vigorously on the merits."

This case dates back to 2012 ABC reports on Lean Finely Textured Beef, commonly known as LFTB.

ABC noted that critics, including a former USDA inspector, called the product "pink slime."

BPI claims those reports ruined the company's reputation and finances.

In Siouxland, the community has also invested in this ongoing court battle.

"Well, it means somebody made a big mistake talking about his meat; his meat is good, 100 percent. He's a nice guy," said Sioux Citian and farmer James Start when asked about the labeling of the product.

"It's frustrating because the fact, uh, you know, it should never get to that point. It should have never got to that point. People should have been aware of what going on," Dario Davis explained, after giving his reaction to this ongoing legal battle.

"I've lived here for 48 years and uh I know people that lost their jobs and it's--it's terrible; it's a bad deal," said long-time South Sioux City resident Shawn Overfelt.

According to BPI, the ABC reports forced the company to close three plants and lay off 700 people,

Under South Dakota's food disparagement law, the company is seeking triple damages of more than a billion dollars.

BPI's attorney Erik Connolly told Siouxland News,"We are pleased with the Court's decision, which rejected nearly all of the Defendants' arguments. We look forward to starting discovery and ultimately presenting our case to a jury."

In addition to dismissing most of ABC's motions, Gering also ruled that two other related companies could be included in the suit.

Both BPI Tech and Freezing Machines Incorporated are companies involved in the production process for the meat in question.

Siouxland News will continue to follow this case and bring you the latest updates.

If you have a story you want to tell or an incident you think needs to be investigated, our reporter Beairshelle Edmé wants to hear about it. OR