Anna Nicole Smith Heirs Will Not Receive Money from Marshall Estate U.S. District Judge Says Time to End 20 Years of Litigation
DALLAS, Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- After losing in the Texas Probate Court, The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court, attorneys for the late Anna Nicole Smith (Vickie Lynn Marshall) have lost their final attempt to obtain more than $44 million from the estate of the late E. Pierce Marshall. U.S. District Judge David O. Carter has ruled that attorney Howard Stern did not present evidence that justified awarding sanctions, stating specifically: "There is simply no evidence before the court that justifies awarding sanctions against Pierce's Estate."
Sanctions were the last hope in federal court for the heirs of Vickie Lynn Marshall or her attorneys to receive money after the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal and U.S. Supreme Court ruled against them and stated that the Texas Probate Court judgment in favor of E. Pierce Marshall was the governing decision in the case. Noting specifically the Ninth Circuit's ruling, Judge Carter wrote: "It would be unlawful and repugnant for this Court to issue an order designed to undermine or rewire the Circuit's precedent or the Texas judgment."
In his ruling Judge Carter also noted that he had provided a number of opportunities for attorney Howard Stern to present evidence, but that Stern had failed to do so. In particular, he determined that "Stern is unable to sufficiently establish that the claimed conduct would not require findings precluded by the Ninth Circuit's opinion."
Judge Carter referred to the decision of a Texas Probate Court jury, which heard more than five months of testimony before ruling in favor of E. Pierce Marshall that:
- J. Howard Marshall II's living trust and will "were valid and had not been forged or altered."
- J. Howard Marshall II had not been the victim of fraud or undue influence.
- That J. Howard Marshall II had the mental capacity when he executed the living trust and will.
- J. Howard Marshall II did not have an agreement with Vickie Lynn Marshall that he would give her one-half of all his property.
"Judge Carter's closing statements in his decision should hopefully put an end to attempts by the Vickie Lynn Marshall estate to obtain money from the estate of the late E. Pierce Marshall," said G. Eric Brunstad, Jr., attorney for the Marshall family. "Following a five-and-a-half month jury trial in Texas, during which the jury heard and considered all the evidence in the matter, the Texas Probate Court concluded that J. Howard Marshall II's estate plan reflected his true intentions, and that Pierce Marshall had not done anything improper. Pierce Marshall always took the position that he acted in good faith to execute his father's clearly stated plan. All of us who knew Pierce wish he was here with us to see the outcome of this case. Pierce was a conscientious and honest man of great integrity. The family is in complete agreement with Judge Carter that it is time to put an end to this litigation."
In his decision, Judge Carter notes that the case has gone on for nearly five times the length of the relationship between the late J. Howard Marshall II and Vickie Lynn. In conclusion, Judge Carter stated: "It is neither reasonable nor practical to go forward. The American taxpayer has supported the burden of this litigation for many years, and it is time for this suit to no longer 'drag its weary length before the court.'" (Quoting the Supreme Court's decision in Stern v. Marshal, which in turn quoted Charles Dickens)
SOURCE Marshall Family