NEW YORK (PIX11) – Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter, 6-year-old Dannielynn, could be awarded a fortune from the estate of E. Pierce Marshall, the son of her mother’s former husband, J. Howard Marshall.
A federal judge reversed a Supreme Court ruling that was decided years ago, essentially barring Anna Nicole’s estate from receiving any wealth from the Marshall estate. US District Judge David O. Carter ruled this week that Dannielyn could be entitled to as much as $49 million in sanctions.
Judge Carter ruled that the Marshall legal team had committed “massive discovery abuse” in what Forbes called “the Koch Industries heir’s scorched-earth legal battle” against Marshall’s stepmother, the late bombshell Anna Nicole Smith.
The judge’s decision comes after a legal battle between Smith and the Marshall estate that has lasted for more than a decade. The Supreme Court previously ruled that Smith wasn’t entitled to a dime of the fortune, which is estimated at between $500M and $1B. J. Howard Marshall amassed a huge amount of wealth by turning a partnership with Fred Koch into a 16% stake in the Koch Industries. Marshall died in 1995. His son, E. Pierce Marshall, died in 2006.
Over the years, Marshall attorneys were discovered to have used tactics including backdating documents and lying about having researched those tactics. Judge Carter decided to reverse the Supreme Court decision , and delivered a harshly worded rebuke posted by Forbes :
“Pierce’s bad faith conduct was too pervasive and too egregious to be ignored, despite the fact that he has since passed away. It would promote disrespect for the authority of the federal courts to turn a blind eye to actions that so willfully and blatantly attempted to make a mockery of this justice system. Further, it would reward a party for win-at-all-costs tactics, to the deprivation of his opponent. Such behavior cannot be condoned.”
Daniellynn Hope Marshall Birkhead now lives with Smith’s former love interest and photographer, Larry Birkhead.