WASHINGTON, May 23, 2014— The South Dakota Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from television network ABC challenging a lower court’s refusal to throw out Beef Products Inc.’s (BPI) lawsuit.

The beef processing company is suing ABC in a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit over news reports in 2012, in which ABC reporters refer to BPI’s lean finely textured beef (LFTB) as “pink slime.”

The circuit court’s ruling in March rejected the network’s motion to throw out the case.

BPI, based in Dakota Dunes, said ABC’s reports misled consumers into believing LFTB was unhealthy and unsafe. Defendants in the case include ABC as well as anchor Diane Sawyer.

In the court order issued Thursday, the state’s high court also lifted a stay it had granted during ABC’s motion to appeal. The case may now move onto discovery phase. 

"We are pleased with the decision of the South Dakota Supreme Court," BPI attorney Erik Connolly said in a statement. "We look forward to starting discovery."


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