After nearly 20 years of litigation—that went all the way up to the Supreme Court—a federal judge has ruled that Anna Nicole Smith’s estate will not get a single red penny of her late husband’s billions.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ruled against Smith’s estate’s final attempt at a multi-million-dollar judgement against the family of her late husband J. Howard Marshall. Last year, Carter had indicated that—while Smith’s estate was not entitled to any money from Marshall’s estate—he might award Smith’s daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead, more than $40 million in sanctions over the tactics and behavior of the Marshall family that he said were “too pervasive and too egregious to be ignored.”
But this case has been going on for years and years, and all the main players—Smith, Marshall and Marshall’s son E. Pierce Marshall—have been dead for years. Carter said it’s time to move on.
“Time spent litigating the relationship between Vickie Lynn and J. Howard has extended for nearly five times the length of their relationship and nearly twenty times the length of their marriage. It is neither reasonable nor practical to go forward.”
Carter concluded that the “American taxpayer has supported the burden of this litigation for years.” But all is not lost. The case did result in a significant change in bankruptcy law thanks to a precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
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