SEATTLE – Bill Marler, a lawyer who specializes in food-safety litigation, has hired a lawyer of his own, according to news reports.

Journalists working at Marler's publication, Seattle-based Food Safety News, received a subpoena from lawyers representing Beef Products Inc., Dakota Dunes, SD. Marler said he believes the communications are privileged, but he gave BPI lawyers a list of e-mails sent between Food Safety News and ABC reporters, according to news reports. Marler also is a partner in the MarlerClark law firm in Seattle.

BPI launched a $1 billion lawsuit against ABC News over the network's coverage of lean finely textured beef (LFTB). Critics called the product "pink slime". Food Safety News and other news organizations reported the story. BPI's lawyers have been seeking information from news organizations as part of its defamation lawsuit.