Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, June 24, 2011

Supreme Court Rules on Anna Nicole Smith's Case

26 When Anna Nicole Smith sued in a Texas probate court to retrieve money from her late husband, she also filed for bankruptcy in California. Pierce Marshall, the son of Smith’s late husband, filed a claim with the bankruptcy court for defamation. California federal courts have clashed with Texas probate courts since 1999 over which courts have the authority to resolve these disputes.

In Stern v. Marshall, No. 10-179, the Supreme Court ruled against Smith’s estate in a 5-4 decision. The Court held that the Texas probate court had the authority to resolve the case. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The [federal] bankruptcy court below lacked the constitutional authority to enter final judgment on a state law counterclaim that is not resolved in the process of ruling on a creditor’s proof of claim.”

See David G. Savage, Anna Nicole Smith heirs are losers in Supreme Court, Washington Bureau, Jun. 23, 2011.

Special thanks to Matthew Bogin (attorney, Rockville, Maryland), David Luber (attorney, Hollywood, Florida) and Jim Hartnett (attorney, Dallas, Texas) for bringing this to my attention.


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