ABC News and its co-defendants answered the $1.2 billion defamation case that Beef Products Inc. filed against them last month, by removing the case to federal court from the South Dakota state court system.
The filing is called a "notice of removal," and while the case is now considered a federal matter, BPI could file a "motion for remand," which would ask the federal court to send the case back to the state system.
Reached Wednesday evening, one of BPI's lawyers on the case, Erik Connolly of the Chicago law firm of Winston & Strawn, declined to say whether BPI would file such a request.
ABC News's notice of removal argued that only BPI — not its related companies, Freezing Machines Inc. and BPI Technology Inc. — are "parties of interest" to the case, according to federal court filings.
Therefore, BPI's argument that their co-location in Union County, S.D., gave the state court jurisdiction is invalid, ABC says.
Moving the case to federal court in South Dakota is proper because the case remains in the "district and division" where it first was filed, but accounts for the fact that the parties to the case, including the defendants, encompass several different states.
Beef Products Inc. sued ABC News Inc. in September for defamation and tortious interference over its spring 2012 coverage of lean finely textured beef. BPI executives also declined to comment on the defendants' filing.
For more information on developments in the industry and at Beef Products Inc. over the last six months, read Meatingplace magazine's cover story in the November 2012 issue.
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