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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Anna Nicole Goes to the Supreme Court

I don't have much to say about it, but it seemed blogworthy.

Posted by Hillel Levin on September 27, 2005 at 03:07 PM in Hillel Levin | Permalink


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My understanding goes something like this. After losing in state court, A.N. Smith filed for bankruptcy, claiming as an asset a promisory note from her dead husband. The son went in and sued saying that it was not an asset and she filed counter-claims for tortious interference with contract and a few other things surrounding her argument that the son changed the will at the last minute. The bankruptcy court ruled in her favor, as did a district court (how the case ended up there, I don't quite get) but the 9th circuit held, contra the 11th, that the probate exception applies to all federal jurisdiction and not just to diversity jurisdiction.

So, can anyone give a quick, imperfect primer on how the probate exception developed and why.....

Posted by: NobodyImportant | Sep 30, 2005 10:43:14 AM

Yea, actually, I'm curious about the probate thing... not curious enough to actually do anything to find out about it except ask here, but curious. Does anyone know how this thing actually ended up in the federal courts? I've seen one article which suggests that a bankruptcy judge awarded her like 400 million bucks, but how was the estate in bankruptcy if it had 400 million bucks to play around with?!

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Sep 29, 2005 7:58:57 PM

You two nerds might appreciate this article by a buddy prawf at U. Wash. See Peter Nicolas, Fighting the Probate Mafia: A Dissection of the Probate Exception to Federal Court Jurisdiction, 74 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1479 (2001).

Posted by: Dan Markel | Sep 29, 2005 6:24:42 PM

Am I the only person besides Nate Oman who thinks that the probate exception to federal jurisdiction is more exciting than Anna N. Smith?

Posted by: [email protected] | Sep 29, 2005 6:21:16 PM

And the probate exeception to federal jurisdiction! I just doesn't get more exciting than that!

Posted by: Nate Oman | Sep 29, 2005 2:52:47 PM

Her late husband was a graduate of our alma mater and a minor figure in the legal realism movement when he was a dean there. Its Supreme Court practice, legal history and celebrity gossip - all rolled into one.

Posted by: Randy Heinig | Sep 27, 2005 7:49:11 PM

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