Anna Nicole Smith loses Supreme Court case, heirs receive nothing of estate
Anna Nicole Smith's ongoing legal battle ended in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday with a rulling that said her heirs are not entitled to part of the $1.6 billion fortune left behind by her late billionaire husband, J. Howard Marshall, a Texas oil baron.
The court said it was a mistake for a bankruptcy court to award the now-deceased Playboy Playmate $475 million from the oil tycoon's estate and ruled in favor of Marshall's heirs.
"J. Howard's wishes were always perfectly clear: He gave Anna Nicole Smith approximately $8 million in gifts during his lifetime, and those gifts were all that he intended to give her," said Eric Brunstad, the Marshalls' lawyer, according to the Associated Press.
Marshall met Smith in a Houston strip club. The two wed in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. Marshall died the next year and his will left his estate to his son and nothing to Smith.
Smith challenged the will, claiming that her husband promised to leave her more than $300 million in addition to the cash and gifts he gave her during their 14-month marriage.
Smith, who was also reality television star, died at age 39 of an accidental prescription drug overdose in 2007. She was in the middle of a 15-year legal battle over the Marshall's will.
Smith's 4-year-old daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead, was named her heir in 2008 and will receive nothing from the Marshall family. Dannielynn lives with her photographer father, Larry Birkhead. He and Smith's attorney Howard K. Stern are now in charge of her estate.
In March 2010, an appeals court had ruled that Smith's estate would not receive any of the some $300 million Smith said her late husband had promised her, following a plea by his son E. Pierce Marshall, who according to his father's will, was to receive almost all of the money. He died in 2006. Justices recently decided to reconsider the ruling.
After her husband's death, Smith filed for bankruptcy in Los Angeles, alleging in federal court filings that her husband promised her a large share of the estate. A bankruptcy judge awarded her $475 million from Marshall's estate, with a federal judge reducing that amount to $89 million in 2002.
Smith was buried in the Bahamas in 2007 next to the grave of her son, Daniel, who had died a year earlier and days after the birth of her daughter, Dannielynn.
In January, Smith's boyfriend-lawyer Howard K. Stern was dismissed of drug conspiracy convictions. A judge determined that Stern, who was charged with two felony counts, had no intention of fraud when he used his name and others to protect the late former Playboy model's privacy when he obtained prescriptions for her.
The judge also ruled that Smith's psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich was acting out of concern for Smith when she obtained a Vicodin prescription for Smith under a false name. Eroshevich was sentenced to one year of probation and given a $100 fine. She now has one remaining conviction, which was reduced to a misdemeanor.