Published February 18, 2005
LOS ANGELES – A federal appeals court has declined to reconsider a ruling that former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith (search) is not entitled to $88.5 million from the estate of her late husband.
Smith's attorney, Howard K. Stern, said he would appeal to the Supreme Court.
The 1993 Playmate of the Year was 26 when she and oilman J. Howard Marshall II (search) married in 1994. He was 89. They met three years earlier when she was working as a stripper.
Marshall died in 1995, and Smith and Marshall's son, E. Pierce Marshall, have battled over his estate ever since.
Last December, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a Texas probate court's decision should stand: the son was the oilman's sole heir — and doesn't owe Smith anything.
The panel said the federal judge in California who ruled in Smith's favor in 2002 should never have even heard the case.
Smith asked the full court to rehear the case; it declined to do so this week.
"The basic principle we think is very sound is if you pursue a probate claim in a probate court, that's the only place you should pursue it," Marshall's attorney Eric Brunstad said Thursday.
"The 9th Circuit's ruling is not based on the merits of the case, but instead on what we believe is a misapplication of a jurisdictional exception regarding probate cases," he said.