·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

Netflix, Blumhouse Productions Hit with Lawsuit Over ‘Our Father’ Documentary

— July 8, 2022

Netflix and Blumhouse Productions were recently named in a lawsuit filed by an Allen County woman over the documentary, ‘Our Father.’

A woman in Allen county recently slapped Netflix and Blumhouse Productions with a lawsuit after they outed her as a “secret child of former Indianapolis-based fertility doctor Donald Cline on the streaming service’s hit Our Father documentary.

Gavel on copy of lawsuit; image by Wirestock, via
Gavel on copy of lawsuit; image by Wirestock, via

According to the woman’s complaint, she was “never contacted by anyone associated with the film – which details Cline impregnating dozens of women with his sperm without their consent – nor ever gave producers permission to use her name or likeness in the documentary.” However, the woman was identified in the documentary as one of Cline’s children when her name was “listed visibly as a match.

The suit further noted that there were others who “did not feel comfortable with the documentary or did not give permission to be in the film had their names or likenesses blurred.” The lawsuit stated:

“The tag line on Blumhouse’s Twitter account is ‘we make nightmares come true,’…Blumhouse, in conjunction with Netflix, has succeeded in its efforts to make Plaintiff’s nightmare come true.”

The suit was filed last month in Allen Superior Court and paperwork to move it to U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne was filed earlier this week. The plaintiff is referred to as Jane Doe in the court documents, and she’s seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

For those who don’t know, Cline fathered about 100 children back in the 1970s and 1980s “while using his own sperm to impregnate dozens of unsuspecting patients.” According to court documents, the women “were told by Cline that the donors were medical residents and that he used each donor for only three successful pregnancies.” However, instead of donors, Cline used himself.

Eventually, an investigation was launched into the matter and Cline has since pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts of obstruction of justice in connection with fertility fraud claims.

How did Jane Doe find out she was one of Cline’s secret children, though? Well, according to the suit, some of the ‘secret children’ began taking at-home DNA tests in 2014 via an online service. Soon after, “those who had been fathered by Cline began finding out they had several biological half-siblings.

Jane Doe took one of the DNA tests in 2016 and learned she had several half-siblings. Eventually, she also learned that Cline was her biological father. The suit states:

“Plaintiff held this fact in close confidence…Some of Plaintiff’s biological half-siblings were able to see her identity through a DNA website. This information was kept secured to a limited number of persons, mainly, certain of her biological half-siblings.”

The suit further states:

“The defendant’s publication of Plaintiff’s identity as a Secret Child has caused Plaintiff severe harm, including, but not limited to, reputational injury, distress, embarrassment, and emotional trauma.”


Lawsuit: Netflix outed local woman as ‘secret child’ of fertility doc without her consent

Women sue Netflix over ‘Our Father’ documentary revealing their secret


Join the conversation!