Years after her mother's untimely death, Anna Nicole Smith's daughter may finally be getting her tiny hands on a chunk of the legacy her mom spent the last years of her life fighting for.
Dannielynn Birkhead could nab as much as $49 million in damages after a judge ruled that the family of J. Howard Marshall II fought a little too dirty of a battle in trying to keep their dad's cash away from the blonde bombshell (and later, her estate) — most notably, Marshall's late son Pierce.
"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," U.S. District Judge David O. Carter said in his ruling.
While Judge Carter declined to specify damages in the ruling released to the public, Forbes estimates the sanctions could run as high as $49 million.
The ruling effectively brought to an end a decade-plus battle for the estate of a man who died just a year into his marriage to the former Guess girl.
Anna Nicole died in 2007 of a drug overdose, but her estate — currently embroiled in tax problems — has continued to fight for the fortune on behalf of Dannielynn, now 6 years old.
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