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Timeline of the Case’s Route
February 16, 1995: Pierce is appointed guardian of J. Howard’s person by the Texas Probate Court.
April 1995: Vickie commences proceedings in TX Probate Court against Pierce seeking a declaration regarding the validity of J. Howard’s Living Trust and for tortious interference with her property rights.
August 7, 1995: Vickie files a further application in the Probate Court to determine that J. Howard died intestate (without a will). Pierce Marshall opposes Vickie’s application to declare J. Howard died intestate and offers J. Howard’s will for probate. Vickie contests J. Howard’s will and also seeks to invalidate the Living Trust claiming she is entitled to half of all J. Howard’s property.
January 25, 1996: Vickie files a voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy case in Los Angeles.
June 14, 1996: Vickie asserts a claim of tortious interference against Pierce in the Bankruptcy Court virtually identical to the claim she filed in the Texas Probate Court.
May 7, 1996: Pierce Marshall files an adversary complaint seeking a determination that Vickie owed him a debt that was non-dischargeable.
June 11, 1996: Pierce Marshall files a proof of contingent claim of unknown amount in the bankruptcy case.
November 8, 1996: Vickie propounds her first request for production of documents—documents from Pierce related to J. Howard’s estate planning process as well as revisions to his Will and other documents—making 91 requests.
November 20, 1996: At a meeting of counsel, Pierce produces over 300 pages of documents including J. Howard’s Will.
December 12, 1996: Pierce files his response objecting to many of Vickie’s requests one day late. To which Vickie brought a motion to compel.
January 1998: Vickie files an adversary complaint against Marshall Petroleum Inc. (MPI) and Finley Hilliard as trustee of J. Howard Marshall’s Living Trust and as executor of the succession of J. Howard Marshall.
February 1998: Vickie complains about Pierce’s supplementation of his privilege log. She moves to strike Pierce’s answer.
February 17, 1998 : Vickie files a motion to strike Pierce’s answer to her complaint, alleging failure to comply with discovery.
February 27, 1998: Vickie serves on Pierce her first set of interrogatories, including 340 separate requests. Vickie serves her 2nd request for production of documents, comprising 115 additional requests.
March 10, 1998: Bankruptcy Court holds a brief impromptu discovery conference. During which Pierce agrees to assist Vickie in obtaining non-privileged documents from 3rd parties.
April 22, 1998: Non-privileged documents produced for Vickie and reviewed.
April 29, 1998: Vickie’s counsel sends letter withdrawing all 340 interrogatory requests.
May 1, 1998: Pierce serves his response to Vickie’s 2nd request for production of documents.
August 27, 1998: Bankruptcy Court holds a hearing, where Vickie urges the Court to sanction Pierce for Hunter’s failure to produce documents.
September 1998: Pierce moves to withdraw the litigation from the Bankruptcy Court to the District Court.
October 19, 1998: District Court withdraws the matter, but left the Bankruptcy Court free to resolve pending discovery disputes.
October 21, 1998: Judge Keller issues a ruling that withdrew the reference, but retains the services of the bankruptcy judge for discovery purposes.
February 1, 1999: District Court stays the Bankruptcy Court’s previous sanctions orders.
February 2, 1999: Bankruptcy Court defies the District Court declaring the stay ineffective and enters its initial sanctions order.
March 1999: Robert MacIntyre, administrator of J. Howard’s estate, agrees to waive the estate’s privilege and so Hunter produced 200 boxes of documents for Vickie.
March 8, 1999: Vickie confirms her chapter 11 plan of reorganization. Vickie emerges from bankruptcy with a discharge of her pre-existing debts.
March 10, 1999: Judge Keller stayed the proceeding, pending the outcome of either the TX Probate Court proceedings or the present adversary proceeding. He also vacates the order withdrawing the reference, effectively returning the matter to the Bankruptcy Court.
March 25, 1999: Bankruptcy Court enters its discharge order, deemed effective since March 8th.
October 27, 1999: Bankruptcy Court’s five-day hearing on Vickie’s tortious interference claim started.
November 5, 1999: Bankruptcy Court grants summary judgment for Vickie on Pierce’s Adversary complaint.
September 18, 2000: Trial begins in TX Probate Court.
September 27, 2000: Bankruptcy Court issues a Memorandum of Decision Following Trial concluding that Vickie had an expectancy of an inheritance form J. Howard’s estate based on a theory of a “widow’s election”.
October 2, 2000: Vickie’s lead counsel delivers Vickie’s opening argument in TX Probate Court.
October 6, 2000: Bankruptcy Court enters a new opinion, stating that Vickie had an expectancy to receive a substantial portion of J. Howard’s wealth based on a theory of an inter vivos gift.
November 21, 2000: Bankruptcy Court assessed punitive damages against Pierce in the amount of $25 million.
December 11, 2000: District Court hears oral argument on Pierce’s motion to withdraw the reference and then took the matter under submission. The motion was later denied.
December 29, 2000: Bankruptcy Court enters $474 million judgment against Pierce.
January 4, 2001: Pierce files his notice of appeal to District Court.
February, 2001: The Bankruptcy Court issues an injunction against Pierce from proceeding with his affirmative claims against Vickie in the Texas Probate Court. The Texas Probate Court issues an injunction against Vickie from proceeding against Pierce in the Bankruptcy Court.
February 9, 2001: Pierce, with leave of court, files amended counterclaims against Vickie in the Probate Court, including a request for declaratory relief to determine Vickie’s rights in J. Howard’s property and estate.
March 1, 2001: Trial in TX Probate Court ends.
March 7, 2001: TX Probate Court jury’s verdict upholds the validity of J. Howard’s Living Trust and Will.
April 2001: District Court issues an Order Regarding Subject Matter Jurisdiction holding that the “probate exception” did not apply.
April 6, 2001: A motion is filed on Pierce’s behalf in the Texas litigation. The motion for judgment is accompanied by a proposed form of order that included an award of $541,000 in attorneys’ fees against Vickie.
June 19, 2001: The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California affirmed the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s determination that federal jurisdiction was proper over Vickie’s several claims but reversed the determination that her claims fell within the core jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court.
June 20, 2001: The District Court entered its amended order vacating the Bankruptcy Court’s $474 million judgment.
June 25, 2001: The District Court began its review of the Bankruptcy Court’s proposed findings.
August 13, 2001: The District Court reversed the Bankruptcy Court’s injunctions.
August 15, 2001: TX Probate Court enters its final judgment disposing of all claims related to J. Howard’s disposition of his property.
October 23, 2001: The District Court ruled, without a hearing, that E. Pierce Marshall had waived his attorney-client privilege and handed his privileged communications to opposing counsel.
December 11, 2001: The District Court heard argument on E. Pierce Marshall’s motion to dismiss Vickie’s tortious interference claim on grounds of claim preclusion and issue preclusion.
December 21, 2001: The District Court denied E. Pierce Marshall’s motion based on claim and issue preclusion.
January 8, 2002: The District Court heard argument on E. Pierce Marshall’s contention that Texas law does not recognize a cause of action for tortious interference with an expectancy of an inter vivos gift.
February, 21 2002: Bankruptcy Court held that parts of the judgment in the Texas Probate proceedings violated Vickie’s discharge under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
February 26, 2002: Bankruptcy Court ruled that the Probate Court’s award of attorney’s fees violated Vickie’s bankruptcy discharge.
March 7, 2002: District Court entered its final $88 million judgment against E. Pierce Marshall.
May 2, 2002: Vickie filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment in District Court and was denied.
June 3, 2002: E. Pierce Marshall filed a notice of appeal to U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
May 12, 2003: E. Pierce Marshall filed a motion for summary reversal of the District Court’s judgment for lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction and on grounds of the probate exception, claim preclusion and issue preclusion.
October 9, 2003: Oral argument in the appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is made at the 9th Circuit in San Francisco and duly submitted.
December 30, 2004: The 9th Circuit Court entered its judgment and decision in favor of Appellant and Cross Appellee E. Pierce Marshall, vacating the District Court judgment on the basis the probate exception to federal subject matter jurisdiction. The 9th Circuit also reversed the Bankruptcy Court and District Court upholding the Texas Probate judgment for attorney fees of $541,000 in favor of Pierce Marshall. The 9th Circuit found that the Texas Probate Court judgment did not violate Vickie’s discharge order under the Bankruptcy Code.
May 17, 2005: Vickie appealed the 9th Circuit decision on the probate exception to the U.S. Supreme Court
September 27, 2005: The U.S. Supreme Court, granted certiorari (accepting the case).
February 28, 2006: Marshall v. Marshall was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
May 1, 2006: The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court was handed down stating that the District Court properly asserted federal jurisdiction over Vickie’s tort claim against E. Pierce Marshall. The judgment of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was reversed and remanded thereto for further proceedings. The remaining issues on appeal had earlier been deemed moot by the 9th Circuit in its original opinion and hence were never ruled upon
June 20, 2006: E. Pierce Marshall passes away in Texas
February 8, 2007: Vickie Lynn Marshall (a/k/a Anna Nicole Smith) passes away in Florida.
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