Got a beef with corn-fed beef or lean finely textured beef? Got a bee in your bonnet over neonicotinoid pesticide drift? Minnesotans may have to up their passive aggressive nice game if HF2880, an agricultural food disparagement law introduced by state representative Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, and Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, becomes law.
The language of HF2880 is nearly identical to that of South Dakota's 20-10A-1, under which Beef Products Inc sued ABC News in a lawsuit filed in 2012 after ABC News broadcast a segment that referred to lean finely textured beef as "pink slime." ABC News settled with Beef Products in June, 2017.
In ABC’s ‘Pink Slime’ Report Tied to $177 Million in Settlement Costs, the New York Times reported:
The Walt Disney Company said in its latest quarterly financial statement that it had $177 million in costs related to settling litigation. The announcement came just weeks after ABC News, a Disney unit, reached a settlement with a meat producer that accused the network of defamation for its reports about so-called pink slime, a processed beef product used as low-cost filler.
The company’s statement, released on Aug. 8, said in a footnote that the $177 million charge was “incurred” in the nine-month period ending July 1, in addition to what was covered by insurance. It gave no details about whether that charge — or how much of it — was directly related to the processed beef product case.
ABC News reached the settlement with Beef Products Inc., a privately owned meat producer in South Dakota, on June 28, ending a jury trial that started earlier that month. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
But on Thursday, Dan K. Webb, a lawyer who represented Beef Products in the trial, said the settlement was higher. “As Disney disclosed, $177 million is not the total settlement amount. Based on Disney’s disclosure, it appears that Disney is funding $177 million of the settlement and its insurers are paying the rest,” he said in a statement emailed by a spokesman. . . .
At the time of the settlement, The Wrap observed in Why ABC’s ‘Pink Slime’ Settlement Is a Red Flag for Free Press:
ABC News’s decision to settle a food libel lawsuit over its “pink slime” report sends a dangerous signal that a powerful mainstream news organization is unwilling fight to vindicate its reporting.
And that sends a signal of vulnerability that may invite frivolous libel lawsuits and crippling legal expenses, experts warn.
“Does the settlement send a message to potential litigants, who perhaps have only spurious claims, to move forward with filing suits?” said University of Minnesota journalism professor Jane Kirtley. “Probably.”
“I always regret when a news organization, especially one who could mount a credible defense and has solid financial resources, elects to settle,” Kirtley told TheWrap. . . .
We'll have more on this and other pre-filled bills on Sunday.
Photo: Credit Beef Products, Inc., via Associated Press and New York Times.
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