ABC's multi-part filing in a U.S. District Court in South Dakota offers several arguments for dismissal: BPI can't allege libel because the original complaint is about how LFTB was described, meaning only product-disparagement allegations can be made; ABC's reports don't qualify as disparagement because they didn't question LFTB's safety, only whether people would want to eat it; and the news reports are considered protected speech under the First Amendment as "imaginative expression" and "rhetorical hyperbole." The term "pink slime" was coined several years ago.
The filing "emphasizes the network's role as a watchdog for the public interest," Keefe reports. From the filing: "BPI's complaint . . . directly challenges the right of a national news organization, two USDA scientists, and a former BPI employee to explore matters of obvious public interest -- what is in the food that we eat and how that food is labeled." BPI counsel Erik Connolly told Keefe that he could oppose the motion to dismiss. (Read more)