Judge Manish S. Shah has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the police training firm, John E. Reid and Associates, against Netflix and Ava DuVernay. John E. Reid and Associates is best known for introducing the “Reid Technique.” The firm has claimed that Netflix and DuVernay falsely portrayed the technique in their limited series, When They See Us.
At one point in the limited series, a character says, “You squeezed statements out of them after 42 hours of questioning and coercing, without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision.”
Another character responds, “The Reid Technique has been universally rejected.”
John E. Reid and Associates has rejected the notion that it has been “universally rejected.” However, Judge Shah found that the term “universally” can be used loosely and is protected from defamation litigation.
“Universally is hyperbolic and the prosecutor cannot be taken literally to assert that all intelligent life in the known universe has rejected the technique,” Shah wrote.
“The statement was also made by a fictionalized character, during a fictionalized conversation,” he added.
In addition to John E. Reid and associates, former prosecutor Linda Fairstein has filed a lawsuit against DuVernay and Netflix. The lawsuit claims that DuVernay and Netflix portrayed the former prosecutor inaccurately.
“Throughout the film series, Ms. Fairstein is portrayed as making statements that she never said, taking actions that she did not take — many of them racist and unethical, if not unlawful — in places that she never was on the days and times depicted,” the suit states.
Fairstein is still pursuing the case at the moment. Netflix has responded to the lawsuit by characterizing it as “without merit.” DuVernay has not commented on the matter publicly.