BRAND NEW ON E!
Supreme news for Anna Nicole Smith.
The onetime Playmate of the Year won another shot at getting her hands on her late husband's fortune Monday after the United States Supreme Court unanimously overturned a U.S. appeals court ruling that the curvaceous widow was entitled to nothing.
The high court sent the case back to the federal appeals court in California for yet another round in the long-running battle over oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II's fortune.
Smith, who married Marshall in 1994 when she was 26 and he was 89, has steadfastly claimed that her husband promised her half of his estate, estimated to be worth more than $1.6 billion at the time of his death in 1995.
However, the TrimSpa spokesmodel's former stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, has maintained that he was his father's sole heir and that Smith was only entitled to $6 million in gifts that she received in 1994.
A state probate court in Texas sided with Marshall, awarding him his father's entire estate, while a federal bankruptcy judge in California ruled in favor of Smith, awarding her $474 million, because of her claims that Marshall had interfered with the inheritance she was supposed to receive.
The amount was later reduced by a federal district judge and then tossed out all together by a federal appeals court, which ruled the court in Texas, where the Marshalls lived, trumped any other jurisdiction.
Not so, according to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the appeals court was wrong and that the federal district court properly asserted jurisdiction over Smith's claims against her stepson.
The ruling only addressed whether the federal courts can decide Smith's claims, not the merits of her argument as to why she is entitled to the money.
Marshall called his ex-stepmother's win a "technical issue" and said he would have his lawyers ask the appeals court to overturn the district court's ruling in Smith's favor.
"I will continue to fight to clear my name in California federal court. That is a promise that [Smith] and her lawyers can take to the bank," he said in a statement issued in Texas. "I will continue to fight to uphold my father's estate plan and clear my name."