×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney Takes Insurer AIG to Court Over ‘Pink Slime’ Defamation Settlement

The Walt Disney Company is going to battle with its insurer, AIG, as it seeks coverage for a massive settlement in the “pink slime” defamation case.

In a motion in federal court, Disney seeks to compel AIG to submit to arbitration on the coverage dispute. The underlying litigation is not identified, and all references to it are blacked out. However, the dates line up with Disney’s court battle with Beef Products Inc. in South Dakota.

BPI filed a multi-billion dollar libel suit against Disney, alleging that ABC News had damaged its business with a series of reports on “pink slime.” Disney settled the case partway through trial in June.

In August, Disney disclosed that it had incurred legal costs of $177 million, the bulk of which was believed to be due to the BPI settlement. The total settlement was believed to be significantly larger, once insurance claims were factored in.

The new lawsuit discloses that each of Disney’s insurers consented to the settlement, except for AIG. According to the suit, AIG has denied coverage and also objected to Disney’s choice of venue to mediate the dispute.

Disney is seeking to go before an arbitration panel in Los Angeles, arguing that that’s where the relevant documents and individuals reside, while AIG is looking to move the case to New York.

AIG, formerly known as Chartis, issued a policy to Disney with a liability limit of $25 million, according to documents filed with the motion for arbitration.

The two sides have exchanged increasingly hostile letters in the months since the underlying settlement.

On Oct. 6, Disney’s attorney, Marty Myers of Covington & Burling LLP, wrote to AIG’s lawyers: “It is regrettable that Disney and AIG were not able to come to agreement on further aspects of the arbitration(s),” and warned that litigation would be “frivolous.”

“What is regrettable is that you are obviously an untrustworthy liar,” shot back Michael J. Bowe, AIG’s counsel, of the firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP. “I do thank you though for showing your true colors so that I can proceed accordingly for the remainder of these litigations. See you in court, as they say.”

More Biz

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale

    Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale Date

    UPDATED: The troubled Woodstock 50 festival has run into more difficulties, as multiple sources told Variety late Friday that the April 22 on-sale date for the event has been postponed. Agents for artists scheduled to perform at the festival — which include Jay-Z, Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and Halsey [...]

  • National Enquirer - Jeff Bezos

    Hudson Media CEO James Cohen Purchases the National Enquirer

    Hudson Media’s CEO James Cohen announced Thursday that he will purchase the National Enquirer as well as American Media’s other tabloids, the Globe and the National Examiner. With the purchase of the National Enquirer, which Cohen reportedly bought for $100 million, he plans to strengthen their collaborative efforts, documentary shows, weekly podcasts, and theme parks. [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music’s Free Tier Is More Advertising Play Than Spotify Killer, Analysts Say

    When news began to spread last week that Amazon Music’s long-anticipated free streaming tier was imminent, headlines emerged about its threat to Spotify and Apple Music, with some stories saying that Spotify’s stock price dropped in response to the news. But not only was today’s launch of the free tier basically a soft one — [...]

  • Nicki MinajCFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Dinner,

    Nicki Minaj Parts Ways With Longtime Managers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Nicki Minaj has parted ways with Gee Roberson and Cortez Bryant and Blueprint/ Maverick Management, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. She had worked with the pair for the majority of her career. The source says the decision was mutual and amicable, and there was no specific reason for the split, adding [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music Launches Free Streaming Tier, Through Alexa Only (for Now)

    Amazon Music today basically soft-launched its free streaming tier, in which U.S. customers of its Alexa voice assistant will have access to top Amazon Music playlists and thousands of stations, at no cost. The limited access that the new free service provides — it’s only available through Alexa, and when the listener requests a song, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content