Ex-BPI Employee Dismisses “Pink Slime” Lawsuit Against Me, ABC and Jamie Oliver

by Bettina Elias Siegel on March 4, 2013

Back in December I told you that Bruce Smith, a former environmental health and safety officer at Beef Products Inc., filed a pro se lawsuit in Nebraska state court against me, ABC News, Jim Avila, Diane Sawyer and Jamie Oliver.   In his complaint, Mr. Smith claimed to have suffered the negligent infliction of emotional distress due to the loss of his job at BPI last May, a job loss which he alleged arose out the controversy over lean, finely textured beef (more popularly known as “pink slime”).

The case was subsequently removed by the defendants to federal court and about three weeks ago it was voluntarily dismissed by Mr. Smith.  To my knowledge, Mr. Smith has made no public comment regarding his dismissal of the case.

A second lawsuit arising out of the “pink slime” controversy continues, however.  That case, filed by BPI against ABC News, Jim Avila, Diane Sawyer, a former BPI employee and two former USDA microbiologists, seeks $1.2 billion in damages.  I’ll continue to provide updates on the BPI litigation as warranted.

I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the many people who offered assistance and support while the Smith litigation was pending against me, with special thanks to attorney Kenneth White of the Popehat blog and to the Online Media Legal Network at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Bri March 4, 2013 at 8:32 am

Hooray hooray!

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mommm!!!! March 4, 2013 at 8:54 am

You weren’t really worried, were you? Also, I’m not surprised. Further, I’m not sure how ANY lawsuit is going to stand up in court. This is, after all, the system we designed….the consumer system….where the only vote that actually counts is the one you make with your wallet. If consumers choose not purchase a product, I’m not sure how anyone can be sued over it. Clearly, the producers of such a product understood this or there wouldn’t have been such a calculated effort to keep it hidden from said consumers.

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Michael O'Shaughnessy March 4, 2013 at 9:03 am

I personally would rather hear about horse meat – Pink Slime’s 15 minutes of fame are over. Let us move on to the next food scare and the next company to bankrupt. I appreciate that certain individuals want to take a victory lap on this topic – but this is a complicated issue and many people lost jobs and many communities have suffered. I just ask that we take those things into account and put this entire saga into proper perspective before we take the pom poms out and start doing cheers. This isn’t directed at the author – it’s directed at the negativity that is sure to follow in the comments and tweets to follow.

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paul June 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm

The most sensible comment I’ve read. It just seems that most people on this site haven’t sat and really thought about the repercussions of such sensationalism.

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Casey March 4, 2013 at 9:07 am

Bloggers and health activists everywhere are rejoicing at the good news!

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Charles Kuffner March 4, 2013 at 9:14 am

Very glad to hear this Bettina. Woo hoo!

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Jamie March 4, 2013 at 9:54 am

Can I spend the money I was saving for your defense?

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Bettina Elias Siegel March 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

You’re so kind! :-)

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Donna March 4, 2013 at 11:11 am

So glad to hear this update. I’d hate for bloggers and other media to feel silenced for fear of litigation.

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Bettina Elias Siegel March 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Thanks to all of you for your support throughout this episode.

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