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Friday, March 13, 2009

Supremes Pass on Anna Nicole Smith Inheritance Case

Today 2:22 PM PDT by

Strike two for Howard K. Stern this week.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected a request filed Monday by Stern, the executor of Anna Nicole Smith's estate, to lift a federal appellate court's stay on the $88.5 million the late star was awarded in 2002 from the $1.2 billion fortune of her late husband, Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II.

The Supreme Court determined in 2006 that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had overstepped its authority by wiping out the federal court judgment altogether. But the appeals court has been sitting on the award since the sudden death of Marshall's son and the family's chief anti-Anna activist, E. Pierce Marshall in June 2006, just weeks after the high court handed down its decision.

Stern's March 9 filing, arguing that Pierce Marshall's remaining assets could be gone by the time money is ordered to exchange hands, had asked to expedite the payout so that Smith's camp could "pursue Pierce's missing billions" for the benefit of her sole heir, daughter Dannielynn Hope Marshall Birkhead. (Remember, Stern went to court after Anna died to secure his 6% of the payout, $5,310,000, having acted as her attorney)

"We just sit and wait," Marshall family attorney G. Eric Brunstad Jr. told the Legal Times, when asked what the Supreme Court's decision (or lack thereof) meant for their case.

What's the next move?

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