Published On: Tue, May 10th, 2016

A judge dismissed the competency lawsuit brought against billionaire Sumner Redstone

sumner_redstone_and_manuela_herzer_split

 

A judge dismissed a case Monday challenging the mental competency of media mogul Sumner Redstone.

Redstone’s ex-girlfriend and former caretaker filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court late last year, claiming the 92-year-old majority shareholder of CBS and Viacom was mentally incapacitated when he ousted her from a September 3, 2015, advance health care directive.

Moments after Herzer’s lawsuit was thrown out by the judge, she filed a new suit claiming she had been cut out by Redstone’s daughter of US$70 million in expected inheritance.

After Redstone’s deposition was played to the judge on Friday, Cowan admitted that it was strong evidence of Redstone’s wishes and indicated he might call a halt to the trial.

“Did you ever say that Manuela was the love of your life?”, Herzer’s lawyer, Pierce O’Donnell, asked Redstone. After the judge’s ruling Monday, a crying Ms. Redstone hugged her father’s lawyer, Gabrielle Vidal of Loeb & Loeb, upon leaving the courtroom.

If Herzer, 52, had proved her case, it could have triggered a chain of events that would result in the transfer of Redstone’s controlling stake in media giants Viacom Inc and CBS Corp to a seven-person trust that includes Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and Shari Redstone.

The decision removes at least one aspect of the tug-of-war over Redstone’s ability to make decisions concerning Viacom and CBS, an uncertainty that has plagued both stocks, though arguably much more for Viacom, which has struggled in recent years.

The lawsuit, and an examination by an outside doctor, prompted Redstone to step down as executive chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp.in early February.

Speaking to the Daily News Friday, O’Donnell described his face-to-face meeting with Redstone as “haunting”. They said she also executed a $5 million grant agreement with Redstone for the foundation she runs. O’Donnell has said Redstone was generous toward Herzer and paid her tens of millions of dollars over the years.

According to a transcript of the video, Redstone was able to recall that he booted Herzer from his Los Angeles mansion, and clearly said the word “Shari” – the name of his daughter – when asked who he wanted to be responsible for his health decisions.

Asked to explain why he did not explain to Herzer why he was ordering her out of his house and his life, Redstone answered, “Because she’s a (expletive) bitch”.

If Redstone is deemed incompetent, several changes he has made to his estate plans would be invalidated.

Mr Robert Klieger, an attorney for Mr Redstone, said in his opening remarks his client does not tolerate lies.

A series of emails between Shari Redstone and nurse Joseph Octaviano is attached to the complaint.

The staff hugged and high-fived each other after Herzer was evicted, Octaviano said. She also responded to the new lawsuit, calling it “total fiction” and a “baseless attack against the Redstone family”. Read said Redstone bet with family members on televised sports games and didn’t realize they were recorded, and that the others let him win. However, Redstone’s testimony has ultimately defeated her case.

This article was first published at State of The State KS, by Kenny Grant

 

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