Former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith is taking her claims against the estate of J. Howard Marshall II, an oil tycoon who married her in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court! The Associated Press reported here that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted cert in Marshall v. Marshall, 04-1544, to answer the following question: when may federal courts hear claims that are also involved in state probate proceedings? When the Ninth Circuit earlier ruled here on the so-called “probate exception” to federal jurisdiction, it held as follows:
We hold that all federal courts, including bankruptcy courts, are bound by the probate exception to federal court jurisdiction and that we are required to refrain from deciding state law probate matters, no matter how the issue is framed by the parties. We vacate the district court’s final judgment and remand with instructions.
As I previously posted here, the stripper-turned-reality-TV-star stands to win as much as $474 million that a bankruptcy judge initially said she was owed. The self-described “blonde bombshell” claims that her husband promised her millions but that his scheming son cut her out of the estate. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported here, this case promises to liven things up at the Supreme Court:
The case promises to be the sexiest of the nine-month [Supreme Court] term which begins next week. “She’s very excited. She will be attending arguments, there’s no question about that,” Smith’s lawyer, Howard K. Stern, said from Vermont where the television reality star is filming a movie.