A California judge is considering a petition from lawyers for 92-year-old media mogul Sumner Redstone seeking to dismiss a suit charging he is not competent to make legal and financial decision.
A decision could come as early as today.
The suit was brought by Manuela Herzer, who had been Redstone’s live-in companion and his health care agent. She was kicked out of his house, removed as health care agent and cut out of his will last year.
The dismissal would likely hold off any actions that might affect Viacom and CBS, two companies Redstone controls. After the suits were file, Redstone stepped down as executive chairman of the companies amid concern about his mental condition.
Videotaped testimony by Redstone was played in court Friday. The judge said he found the testimony compelling and Redstone’s lawyers, filed for dismissal.
Redstone’s lawyers argued in a renewed motion to dismiss that “after just one day of trial, it is abundantly clear that this proceeding is not reasonably necessary to protect Sumner Redstone’s interest. Mr. Redstone himself testified in the strongest possible terms that he does not want Ms. Herzer in his life, and he does not want her making his health care decisions,” according to the motion to dismiss.
“Ms. Herzer’s only expert, Dr. Stephen Read, acknowledge that given all that has transpired, Ms. Herzer can never effectively serve as Mr. Redstone’s health Care agent. In other words, the relief that Ms. Herzer sees is antagonistic to Mr. Redstone’s interests and a trial on her petition certainly is not reasonably necessary to protect them,” the court papers said.
“Ms. Herzer’s insistence that this proceeding continue ignores entirely the scope and purpose of the litigation she initiated, and seeks to subvert Mr. Redstone’s fundamental right to choose his health care agent to her desire to seek retribution against the family she blames for poisoning their relationship,” the lawyers argue. “Mr. Redstone’s privacy and dignity are more important than that. Mr. Redstone respectfully requests that the court respect his wishes.”
The papers note that when Dr. Read examined Redstone on January 29, 2016, Redstone “was awake and alert for the examination and did not display and emotional incontinence.” Redstone was able to understand Dr. Read’s questions and provide yes or no answers that were consistently meaningful and interpretable.
“Mr. Redstone demonstrated a high level of reasoning and forward-looking thinking in connection with his health care, which is at the center of this dispute,” his lawyers argue. “Mr. Redstone understood that, because of his swallowing condition, he will choke if he attempts to eat. Mr. Redstone understood that he cannot survive without his feeding tube. He indicated that if his feeding tube fell out, he would want it reinserted. And he affirmed that, in the event he became incapacitated, he wants his health-care agent to make that same decision on his behalf.”
The lawyers also noted that Redstone testimony regarding Herzer couldn’t have been clearer.
Her lawyer asked Redstone “who is Manuela Herzer?” and Redstone replied “she is—Manuela is a f___ing b____.” Redstone acknowledged he’d been in love with Herzer, but when asked if he still love her, he said no. Asked about what he wants at the end of the trial, Reston said “I want Manuela out of my life.”
The motion requests on behalf of Redstone that the court dismiss the suit and “allow him to live out his remaining days in peace.”