Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, October 21, 2013

Important Ruling Upcoming on Issue Left Unsettled in Anna Nicole Smith’s Case


One of the most important cases on the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket in October Term 2013 is Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison.  The Court will have to decide whether bankruptcy courts can issue final judgments in matters outside of their authority if it has the consent of the parties.

The Supreme Court ruled two years ago in the Anna Nicole Smith case Stern v. Marshall that bankruptcy courts cannot constitutionally issue final judgments over state law claims.  The court rejected Breyer’s argument in the dissent that this result would create a practical nightmare for federal district courts.

Erwin Chemerinsky predicted the significance of this case would turn on whether consent could cure the problem.  If consent is not sufficient, bankruptcy courts will have to make reports and recommendations to federal district courts, which could mean a dramatic workload increase.

See Erwin Chemerinsky, Anna Nicole Smith Lives On in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Latest Term, The National Law Journal, Oct. 21 , 2013.


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