The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected de Havilland's petition:
De Havilland alleged that the producers violated her right of publicity, the common law tort of misappropriation and false light invasion of privacy based on FX's portrayal in the docudrama of a fictitious interview and the de Havilland character's reference to her sister as a "bitch" when in fact the term she used was "dragon lady." De Havilland sought to enjoin the distribution and broadcast of the series as well as recover money damages. De Havilland never signed a release or gave permission for her to be portrayed in the series.
The trial court denied FX's motion to strike the complaint. The court concluded that, because Feud tried to portray de Havilland as realistically as possible, the program was not "transformative" and therefore not entitled to First Amendment protection. Under such reasoning many books, films, plays, and television programs that accurately portray real people could be liable. The California Court of Appeal, however, reversed the trial court ruling stating that under the First Amendment, "[w]hether a person portrayed in one of these expressive works is a world-renowned film star -- "a living legend" -- or a person no one knows, she or he does not own history. Nor does she or he have the legal right to control, dictate, approve, disapprove, or veto the creator's portrayal of actual people."