Olivia de Havilland Update, Part II–How to Get Involved


Dear readers, over the past months, I have gotten several comments and emails from people asking what they can do to help the Olivia de Havilland case. I just received some correspondence from de Havilland’s legal counsel, outlining exactly how to get involved in the petition to review the appellate court’s decision. I had known this was coming for some time, but wanted to wait to update you until I had all the information. Now I can tell you all the details of exactly what we can do.

We are to write amici curiae letters to the California Supreme Court in support of the petition to review. For those up to the task–doing this correctly requires careful following of several steps, so I’m going to streamline it as much as possible based on what I’ve done, so that this process can take as little of your time as possible.

Here is what your letterhead should look like, and how you should address and start the letter:

Your name

Your address

Your phone number



Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye

and the Associate Justices

Supreme Court of California

350 McAllister st.

San Francisco, CA 94102
Re: de Havilland v. FX Networks, LLC, et al., Court of Appeal Case No. B285629 and California Supreme Court Case No. S248614

Dear Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and the Associate Justices of the California Supreme Court,

Pursuant to California Rule of Court 8.500(g), I am writing in support of the Petition for Review of Olivia de Havilland, de Havilland v. FX Networks, LLC, et al., Court of Appeal Case Number B285629 and California Supreme Court Case Number S248614.

Here is what you should put in the letter:

  • Who you are, your profession, your interest in the issues of the case (right to protect name and identity from knowingly false statements, right to a trial by jury, etc)
  • Why these issues are important to be considered by the California Supreme Court
  • Why trial by jury is important for everyone, not just Dame Olivia
  • State that you have no personal financial interest in the case

Speak in your own voice, and explain (for example) why truth in media is important, and that falsehoods have no value. Most of all, make it your own and explain why this is important to you.


Fill out the Proof of Service document. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Feel free to just download the photo, print it, and fill it out.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 11.31.08 PM

Now comes the rather daunting part (in case you forgot that this is a legal case).

  • Make TWO copies of the letter and send them to the attorneys on both sides of the case. Their names and addresses are in the Proof of Service document, but to make everything totally accessible, here they are again:

Suzelle M. Smith, Esq.                                             Kelly M. Klaus, Esq.

Howarth & Smith                                                     Munger Tolles & Olson LLP

523 W. 6th Street                                                      350 South Grand Avenue

Suite 728                                                                   50th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90014                                            Los Angeles, CA 90071

  • Then you must make EIGHT copies of the letter you wrote, and mail the copies, along with the original letter you wrote and the Proof of Service to the Clerk of the Court:

Mr. Jorge E. Navarrete

Clerk of the Court

Supreme Court of California

350 McAllister Street

San Francisco, CA 94102-4797

  • And that’s it!

We are to get our letters mailed by June 1, 2018. Suzelle Smith’s office wants us to know that she’s aware of how much effort this is, but she assures us that it will be well worth it. These letters might make the difference.

Any questions? Comments? Feel free to leave anything in the comments section or email me. Thank you so much for supporting this important cause. Suzelle Smith closed her correspondence with:

“Thank you very much for your interest in Miss de Havilland’s case and your willingness to be a part of the process for justice.  If the California Supreme Court does take the case, we hope you will be at the oral argument.”

Happy letter writing!





6 responses to “Olivia de Havilland Update, Part II–How to Get Involved

  1. I hope and pray she gets enough support to have the appeals decision overturned. There’s that law expert Jennifer Rothman who’s definitely on FX’s side. In a recent article about right of publicity she states, “Hopefully, the California court will either deny review or grant review solely to affirm, and emphasize the unquestionable First Amendment protection for such depictions of real people.”

  2. Yeah, Jennifer Rothman has inherent bias. She’s the author of a book that advocates for First Amendment protections in just about all right of publicity cases. She’s wrong about that—the First Amendment has clear limits. Obviously it’s very important, no one denies that. But in this particular case, because of its nuances, Olivia is actually in the right.

  3. This was posted on Rothman’s site, “Given the award of attorneys’ fees in the appellate decision, I would still look for this one to settle. This petition may be a bargaining chip to escape de Havilland needing to foot a large defense bill here.”

    Do you agree/make sense of this?

  4. Interesting. Having talked to the lawyer at length, I don’t think so. The lawyer is convinced that even if they have to go to the Supreme Court, they’ll ultimately win.

  5. Hello again, thought this would peak your interest. Someone in facebook group for Feud under the guise of Lucy Ricardo (and who has said they have inside information) was asked when the DVDS would be coming out and this Lucy Ricardo person replied back, “The reason is that ryan murphy and fx do not want to risk further liability or damages in the very unlikely event that they lose the lawsuit. They are acting under the advice of legal counsel, who always take a cautious approach. Rest assured that as soon as the lawsuit is finally disposed of (possibly 2 more years) , the DVD box set will be immediately released.”

  6. Well, we’ll see. I have information from Olivia’s lawyer who is sure that they’ll win, so it seems they’re going head to head on this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s