Court Rules Against Anna Nicole Smith's Estate
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: March 19, 2010
Filed at 8:19 p.m. ET
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The elderly Texas billionaire who married Anna Nicole Smith in the last year of his life never intended to leave the former stripper any portion of his vast fortune, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a Houston jury that said J. Howard Marshall was mentally fit and under no undue pressure when he wrote a will leaving nearly all of his $1.6 billion estate to his son E. Pierce Marshall and nothing to Smith.
The ruling was the latest development in the bitter 15-year legal battle. Smith said the elder Marshall promised her more than $300 million, even though there was no written documentation.
The fight between Smith and E. Pierce Marshall started in a sleepy Houston probate court and stretched all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court while outliving its two combatants.
It may reach the high court again.
Kent Richland, a lawyer for Smith's estate vowed to appeal the latest ruling, possibly to the Supreme Court on different issues than those it first considered.
''It really is a unique decision,'' Richland said. ''We have to take it farther.''Read more...