The lawsuit was brought by a former Wisconsin Sheriff’s Deputy, who claims “Making a Murderer” has ruined his reputation.
A Wisconsin federal court will not dismiss a defamation lawsuit against Netflix filed by a former Manitowoc County Sheriff sergeant who starred in the documentary Making a Murderer.
Andrew L. Colborn’s lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, according to WBAY News.
In his lawsuit, Colborn alleges that the portrayal of the trials and convictions of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey in “Making a Murderer” is “biased and falsely portrays him as orchestrating Avery for the” murder of Teresa Halbach.
Since the series went live on the Netflix website, Colborn says he has received “an onslaught of threats and criticism.”
WBAY notes that Colborn’s lawsuit accuses Netflix of “real malice” defamation [their series] more profitable and successful in the eyes of their competitors. “
While Netflix moved the lawsuit to be dismissed, US District Judge Brett H. Ludwig found that Colborn had adequately asserted his allegations of defamation and intent to cause emotional distress.
In their petition, Netflix attorneys alleged Colborn failed to serve the company with his lawsuit in time. Netfflix also claimed that Colborn’s statute of limitations had expired to assert its libel claim.
A hammer. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr / User: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).
“Since this court has already ruled that it has denied Netflix’s first motion to dismiss and dismissed Netflix’s objection to Colborn’s motion to admit the second amended complaint, its recent plea appropriately and plausibly sets out these elements, including actual malice the inadequacy of Colborn’s allegations, Netflix is switching gears and offering a number of arguments to legally reject Colborn’s allegations, “wrote Ludwig in his order. “These recent allegations fail primarily because they are full of factual allegations and would force the court to draw conclusions (if not full findings of fact) in Netflix’s favor and turn the motion to dismiss the standard on its head.”
Ludwig noted, however, that Process Servers had made multiple attempts to convey Colborn’s actions to Netflix – which meant that the former sheriff’s sergeant and his attorneys had met their legal obligation of “due diligence.”
As a result, Ludwig refused to dismiss the lawsuit, which will continue in a federal court. Ludwig stressed that his refusal to dismiss Colborn’s defamation lawsuit did not reflect the merits of the lawsuit.
“Whether Colborn can produce enough evidence so that a jury can determine that Netflix and the other accused have defamed him with” actual malice “remains to be seen,” said Ludwig. “But until the summary judgment is finalized, it would be inappropriate for the court to resolve this issue.”
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