Court says no oil money for Anna Nicole's heirs
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the estate of late model Anna Nicole Smith was not entitled to one cent of the more than $300 million she sought from the estate of her billionaire oil baron husband.
In the latest twist in a 15-year battle over the estimated $1.6 billion fortune left by Texan J. Howard Marshall, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with his late son, Pierce.
The ruling means that Smith's only surviving heir, her 3-year-old daughter Danielyn, will get nothing, lawyers for Marshall said.
"It is an instruction that the case is over, and that E. Pierce Marshall's estate wins. Hopefully, this will be the end of it," Eric Brunstad, who represented the Marshall estate, told Reuters.
Smith married oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall in 1994 when she was a 26-year-old topless dancer in Houston and he was 89.
Marshall died a little over a year later, triggering a bitter battle over his fortune between the former Playboy model and his son, Pierce, who died in 2006. Wrangling over the inheritance played out in Texas and California and also reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006.
Smith died of a drug overdose in 2007 and was survived by Danielyn, who was fathered by photographer Larry Birkhead. Smith's son Daniel from her first marriage died at age 20 in 2006 of a drug overdose. Neither Birkhead nor a lawyer for him could immediately be reached for comment.
In previous hearings, Smith had argued that her husband promised her more than $300 million after his death, and that Pierce Marshall had interfered with her husband's wishes.
But the son said the $7 million in gifts Smith received during the marriage was all his father wanted her to get. Continued...