Two months after Beef Products Incorporated filed a lawsuit against ABC News, one of its former employees is doing the same.
Towards the beginning of the year, photos like this one started surfacing on the web and TV. Dubbed "pink slime," it was said to be a picture of BPI's Lean Finely Textured Beef. Company officials say it's not. LFTB is an all beef product made from trimmings off steaks and roasts.
"We were all making a great living. And then this comes along and blows us right out of the water," said Bruce Smith.
Smith used to be BPI's environmental health and safety director. He says he, and more than 750 others, lost their jobs earlier this year after some in the media lead people to believe LFTB isn't beef, and isn't safe.
"My mission is to hold the responsible parties accountable," said Smith.
He's doing that by using his law degree, suing ABC News, Diane Sawyer, reporter Jim Avila and others. Smith's complaint filed Tuesday in Dakota County, Nebraska asks for $70,000 and claims negligent infliction of emotional distress.
"I'm not in it for the money. I'm in it because of the truth. Or what was lacking in this particular instance, in a wholesale way that cost people I knew their jobs," said Smith.
Smith has also wrote a book about his experience, called "Pink Slime Ate My Job." He says it'll tell the truth about LFTB and promises if 100,000 books are sold, he'll donate $100,000 dollars to former BPI employees.
"I think it's only right that the people who are primarily responsible for this wrong, be held accountable," said Smith.
If you're interested in Smith's book, he says you can find a digital copy on Amazon right now. He says paperbacks will be available later this month.
BPI officials say a "vendetta" by ABC News to discredit LFTB caused them to close three plants in Iowa, Kansas and Texas, and lose $400 million in profit.
Recently, the corporation's lawyers asked a federal judge to move their defamation lawsuit back to state court. It was originally filed in Union County, South Dakota.
BPI is seeking $1.2 billion in damages.
ABC argues two of the companies listed in the lawsuit, BPI Technology Incorporated, and Freezing Machines Incorporated, are not true parties and the case should be thrown out.
Sunday, April 20 2014 1:03 PM EDT2014-04-20 17:03:37 GMT
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