×

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

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

  • Costume designer Michele Clapton

    Costume Designers Fashion a Plan to Fight for Pay Parity in Upcoming Contract Talks

    The Costume Designers Guild Local 892 is gearing up to fight for pay equity in its 2021 contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, establishing a pay-equity committee to raise awareness of the scale disparity between the mostly female CDG membership and the mostly male membership of the Art Directors Guild Local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content