Judge Cheryle Gering says calling the product from Beef Products Inc. (BPI) “pink slime” could be “reasonably interpreted” as implying it’s not fit to eat.
She ruled on Thursday to allow most of BPI’s $1.2 billion defamation case against ABC News and others to proceed.
She did not rule on whether defamation occurred, only that in 22 of the 27 claims, including alleged product disparagement and interference with business relationships, BPI could continue to pursue its case against the network, and on-air personalities Jim Avila and Diane Sawyer, according court documents.
"The entirety of the broadcasts can be reasonably interpreted as insinuating that plaintiffs are improperly selling a product that is not nutritious and/or not safe for the public's consumption," the South Dakota judge wrote in her ruling.
Gering also said the contexts in which ABC made certain of its statements justified allowing BPI company to continue its case.