The girlfriend of the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, who died in 2003 after allegedly stabbing himself in the heart, has been told she will not receive any payments from the dead singer’s estate.
Jennifer Chiba, who was living with Smith when he died, was seeking 15 per cent of his earnings, totalling over $1million.
She claimed she had acted as Smith’s manager and agent, and that Smith had verbally promised to take care of her financially for the rest of her life.
However, a split California appellate court ruled that Chiba had acted as an unlicensed agent, so was therefore not entitled to any payments from Smith’s estate.
The court ruled that while Chiba had a “co-habitative agreement” with Smith, this was not enough to entitle her to payments in conjunction with her management claims.
However, a judge working on the case explained that Chiba may have success if she dropped the management-related claims and made a claim solely based on cohabitation, should she appeal.
The exact nature of Smith‘s death has been the subject of much speculation, due in part to inconsistencies revealed in the coroner’s report, for example: “Several aspects of the circumstances (as they are known at this time) are atypical of suicide and raise the possibility of homicide.”
No further investigation into his death has occurred, however.