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Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Anna Nicole Smith’s Heirs|Won’t Receive Oil Money

(CN) - Anna Nicole Smith's estate -- namely, her toddler daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead -- won't be receiving any of the $300 million-plus judgment previously awarded the late Playboy model from her deceased oil tycoon husband's living trust, the 9th Circuit ruled.

J. Howard Marshall, Smith's husband of one year, died at the age of 90 in 1995. His death launched a 15-year legal battle between his son, E. Pierce Marshall, and Smith, both now deceased.

The three-judge panel reversed two district court rulings, the first awarding Smith about $447 million and the second reducing that amount to $89 million.

The San Francisco-based appellate panel ruled that a Houston jury's 2001 verdict for the Marshall family should be honored over the two federal judgments awarding Smith the billionaire's assets.

Pierce Marshall died in 2006, and Smith died of a prescription drug overdose in 2007, at age 39. Lawyers for the estates have kept the legal battle going.

"The Texas probate court upheld the validity of the living trust as amended and found that it reflected J. Howard Marshall II's intended disposition of his property," Judge Robert Beezer wrote.

The ruling means that Dannielynn Birkhead, Smith's 3-year-old daughter with Larry Birkhead and the main beneficiary of Smith's estate, won't receive any of theTexas tycoon's money.

Kent Richland, who represents the Smith estate, said he would appeal the ruling.

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