Since taking their battle over the estate of oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II all the way to the Supreme Court in 2006, both Marshall’s widow, stripper-turned-model-turned-reality star Anna Nicole Smith and his son, E. Pierce Marshall, have died.
But the legal skirmish may reach the high court once again. Yesterday lawyers for Smith’s estate petitioned the Supreme Court to help settle the matter.
You may recall that Smith married 89-year-old Marshall when she was 26. After his death, a federal judge awarded her $88.5 million, but Pierce Marshall claimed the estate was bequeathed to him alone.
The award was stayed as the case was appealed to the 9th Circuit and ultimately to the Supreme Court (on the question of whether the claim could proceed in federal court or state bankruptcy court). After the high court ruled that the suit could go forward in federal court, Marshall was accused of transferring millions of dollars out of his possession in an effort to hide them from Smith. Within two years, both Smith and the younger Marshall had died.
Now Smith’s estate is asking the Supreme Court to intervene so the award can be granted before the remainder of Marshall’s fortune is gone. Court papers claim only $125 million remains.
“[Smith's] estate will undeniably suffer irreparable harm if the stay is not vacated, as Pierce’s executor claims there is no money to pay the district court judgment, and [Smith's] estate cannot pursue Pierce’s missing billions unless and until the stay is vacated,” Smith’s lawyers said Monday.