Earnings Report Sheds Light On Some Of ABC Settlement With BPI

Earnings Report Sheds Light On Some Of ABC Settlement With BPI

BPI filed a $1.9 billion defamation lawsuit against the television network in 2012, alleging that ABC News reporter Jim Avila's coverage of its use of a product known as "lean finely-textured beef" led customers to believe it was unsafe to consume.

DUNES | ABC's parent company has filed a regulatory report listing a $177 million litigation settlement for the quarter that ended days after the network settled its defamation lawsuit with Beef Products Inc.

Local news reports described a celebratory reaction from members of the BPI party when the settlement was announced inside the courtroom.

Disney's financial disclosures appear to be saying it paid $177 million out of pocket plus the total of its insurance coverage to settle the civil defamation lawsuit of BPI v. Under South Dakota's food disparagement law, the damages could have been tripled to $5.6 billion.

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Dan Webb, one of BPI's attorneys, told CNN that even $177 million would rank as the largest settlement ever paid out in a media defamation lawsuit in USA history. However, a BPI spokesman told FOX Business at the time that company officials were "extraordinarily pleased" with the settlement. Grocery stores and schools stopped using LFTB in ground beef forcing the shutdown of processing facilities in Kansas, Texas and Iowa. BPI was forced to lay off about 750 workers as it closed down production lines in Waterloo, IA; Garden City, KS; and Amarillo, TX.

The trial started in June in Elk Point, S.D., a town of about 2,000 people located just 20 miles north of BPI's headquarters, a long way from ABC News headquarters in NY. Details of the settlement were entirely secret until Disney filed its financial report. The settlement was noted in a footnote on Disney's quarterly earnings report.

ABC News has not retracted any of its reports, which are still available on the network's website.

The ABC statement went onto say, "Throughout this case, we have maintained that our reports accurately presented the facts and views of knowledgeable people about this product". They had been making offers, but they were nowhere they needed to be.