“Pink Slime” Lawsuit May be Frivolous, But Could Chill Speech

Oct 02, 12

Beef Products, Inc., a South Dakota beef producer filed a defamation lawsuit against ABC News, seeking at least $1.2 billion in damages, claiming the broadcaster unfairly disparaged its beef additive by labeling it “pink slime.”

Michele Simon recently wrote a piece about the lawsuit, saying:

“Even if found to be without merit and thrown out of court, the intended message will be sent: scare the media and others out of speaking out against the meat industry. This is known as a SLAPP suit, which stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. According to the First Amendment Project, most SLAPP cases are unsuccessful. However, they still can have their intended effect:

While most SLAPPs lose in court, they “succeed” in the public arena. This is because defending a SLAPP, even when the legal defense is strong, requires a substantial investment of money, time and resources. The resulting effect is a “chill” on public participation in, and open debate on, important public issues.

Even the strong media force Oprah Winfrey felt the sting of being SLAPP’d, despite her winning the lawsuit. According to this recent analysis, Winfrey declined to speak publicly about the case and even refused to distribute the offending episode to journalists or anyone else who requested it.”

Read her full commentary here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-simon/pink-slime-lawsuit-may-be_b_1919830.html

Read more about the case from the Wall Street Journal here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444709004577649552576092254.html

Leave a Reply