The Anna Nicole Smith trial has finally come to an end. Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the heirs of deceased model Anna Nicole Smith, reports the New York Times.
The former Playboy Playmate had been involved in estate litigation well before her untimely death. She was married to oil tycoon Howard Marshall II and was tangled up in a bitter battle over his estate for several years.
The real issue before the U.S. Supreme Court was whether a California bankruptcy court ruling prevailed over a Texas probate court ruling. The California ruling held in favor of Anna Nicole Smith whereas the Texas ruling held in favor of Howard Marshall's son, Pierce Marshall.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the bankruptcy laws that authorized the bankruptcy judges to hear claims based on common law causes of action, when such action "neither derives from nor depends on any agency regulatory regime." As a result, Smith's previous bankruptcy court award, which was once over $400 million, was overturned.
Essentially, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the bankruptcy courts had no authority to try a probate case, which is what had occurred in 2000, when Smith was awarded the amount. The award had initially been $475 million from her late husband's estate but was reduced in 2001 to $89 million.
This isn't the first time that Anna Nicole Smith's battle has made it to the United States Supreme Court. The Court heard the case in 2006. At that time, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Smith, writes the Wall Street Journal.
Ironically, all of the characters from the original litigation have passed away, yet the court battle hasn't died yet.
- Anna Nicole Smith Ruling Cuts Bankruptcy Court Authority, $89M Award (FindLaw's Decided)
- The Litigation-Filled Life of Anna Nicole Smith, and the Legal Aftermath of Her Demise (FindLaw's Writ)
- The End of the Battle Over Anna Nicole Smith's Late Husband's Estate: Why Her Young Daughter Likely Won't Receive Any of J. Howard Marshall's Money (FindLaw's Writ)