Food Lion Prepares Legal Arguments in Lawsuit over ABC News Tactics

Article excerpt

A legal battle that centers around unaired videotape goes to court next month in Food Lion Inc.'s lawsuit against ABC Inc. for a PrimeTime Live broadcast.

More than $100 million in damages is sought by Food Lion, whose case goes to trial before a jury Dec. 9 in U.S. District Court in Greensboro, N.C. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Monday.

ABC has denied the retailer's allegations. The network did not immediately return a phone message left Wednesday at its New York offices. The actual amount of damages sought are expected to be revealed Monday at the hearing and will be substantially more than $100 million, a Food Lion spokesman said. Food Lion sued ABC over a 1992 PrimeTime Live segment that used hidden-camera footage to allege that the Salisbury-based supermarket chain handled meat and fish in an unsanitary and deceptive fashion. The grocery chain's sales fell after the broadcast, which said some spoiled meat was repackaged and rotten fish was treated with bleach to remove the smell. But the unaired videotape will show that producers pushed Food Lion workers into making allegations and deceptively described conditions at stores, said Food Lion spokesman Michael Sitrick. A portion of tape used on the air portrayed an employee sliding on a floor slick with grease, Sitrick said. But the unaired portion shows the employee is on soapy water spilled from a sink. In another piece of tape, a producer intentionally puts out-of- date chickens out for sale, the retailer said. …


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