Businss of Law

BigLaw Firms Say Anna Nicole Smith Ruling Nixes Bankruptcy Jurisdiction in Heller Clawback Case

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Unlikely though it might seem, a deceased celebrity and former stripper known for her marriage to a very elderly, and very wealthy, Texas oil tycoon is at the center of an ongoing dispute concerning the dissolution of Heller Ehrman.

Lawyers for the major law firms at which Heller Ehrman’s former attorneys are now working are pointing to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year concerning the estate of Anna Nicole Smith, reports Reuters.

It held that common-law tort claims don’t belong in bankruptcy court and thus supports their argument, the firms say, that so-called clawback litigation seeking to direct profits from former Heller matters back to the now-defunct firm must be decided in federal district court.

Matthew Schultz of Trepel Greenfield Sullivan & Draa represents Heller. He calls the argument that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali should cede jurisdiction to federal district court in San Francisco “just an attempt to delay.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Bankrupt Heller Law Firm Agrees to Pay $471K to Bankrupt Brobeck Law Firm”

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