Vickie Lynn Marshall v. E. Pierce Marshall
- Case Date: 1/20/2006
- Project Name: Civil Justice Reform
On May 1, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the "probate exception" to federal court jurisdiction is very narrow, and thus that federal courts are free to adjudicate issues that directly implicate the distribution of estate assets -- an issue normally handled in state courts. The decision was a setback for WLF, which filed a brief urging the federal courts to defer to state courts in probate matters. The case involved a federal court suit by Vickie Lynn Marshall (a/k/a Anna Nicole Smith), who claimed that her late husband's son had improperly conspired to deny her a share of the husband's estate. The Supreme Court upheld Ms. Marshall's right to proceed in federal court. The case now returns to the lower federal courts, which will decide whether a federal bankruptcy court judgment in favor of Ms. Marshall should be set aside on "claim preclusion" grounds (i.e., whether federal courts are bound to follow a prior state court judgment that went against Ms. Marshall).
More Information and Downloads:
1/20/2006: Download the Brief