The traveling road show known as the Anna Nicole Smith case comes to Seattle in two weeks, with oral arguments set before a panel of U.S. 9th Circuit Court judges here. The late Playboy Playmate of the Year and reality TV star lost her bid to grab millions from the estate of her late husband J. Howard Marshall II, starting in a Texas probate court in 1995. She died in 2007 but the case has a life of its own, having traveled through federal bankruptcy court in California, the 9th Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Now it's baaack before the 9th Circuit for a new hearing and coincidentally has been scheduled to be heard by the court's own traveling panel of judges on their regular June 25 stop here.
Writer and legal commentator Horace Cooper says the case, Marshall v. Marshall, has serious precedent-setting implications for the future of estate planning and the law, but there will be the likely sideshow of tabloid media hot on the heels of Smith's survivors, Howard K. Stern and Larry Birkhead and his daughter Dannielynn, who are seeking a cut of Howard Marshall's assets. "This may be normal in LA, but Seattle is not that kind of town," thinks Cooper. "The media should be more focused on the lengths Smith's legal team has taken to try to squeeze a dime from [Marshall's] estate. He left the estate to his son Pierce and never promised Smith anything in his written will. He gave her millions of dollars in homes and gifts before he died."