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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Fight Continues Over|Ailing Sumner Redstone

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Sumner Redstone's attorneys asked a judge to dismiss his ex-girlfriend's competency claims, while attorneys claim that Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is dodging a deposition in the case.

In a motion filed Monday, Redstone's attorneys claim that the probate case intrudes on the 92-year-old businessman's privacy.

"This proceeding is not reasonably necessary to protect Mr. Redstone's interest in receiving appropriate medical care," Loeb & Loeb attorney Amy Koch wrote in the filing.

Manuela Herzer filed a petition in Superior Court late last year, claiming that the owner of CBS and Viacom was mentally incapacitated when he revoked a Sept. 3, 2015 advance health directive. Her attorneys said in a statement Monday evening that Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is avoiding their efforts to depose him.

"Where is Philippe Dauman?" Greenberg Glusker attorney Pierce O'Donnell wrote in the statement. "First Viacom chairman and majority owner Sumner Redstone disappeared behind black curtains in his house. And now his direct report, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, is dodging our request to take his deposition."

Superior Court Judge David Cowan said on Dec. 21 that Herzer's lawyers could take Dauman's testimony. But according to O'Donnell, Redstone's attorneys have yet to schedule a meeting. He called the motion to dismiss a "bait-and-switch."

"The reason for this bait-and-switch is clear: They are afraid we will expose the shameful cover-up of Mr. Redstone's diminished mental capacity," O'Donnell wrote.

Herzer claims that Redstone's health is failing, that he has severe cognitive deficits and is unable to write or speak properly.

She says that Redstone - who is worth more than $5 billion - was under the "undue influence" of his estate-planning attorney Leah Bishop when he terminated Herzer as his health care agent.

Bishop threw Herzer out of Redstone's home in Los Angeles and told her that Redstone had created a new health care directive on Oct. 16, naming Dauman as Redstone's health care agent, according to court papers.

Herzer describes herself as the ailing Viacom executive's "longtime friend, companion and caretaker" and says she moved into Redstone's home more than two years ago. She began to take care of his medical care needs last year after his relationship with Sydney Holland, his girlfriend of five years, came to an end, she says.

Redstone's attorneys say that the ailing magnate is capable of making his own health care decisions.

Herzer wants the September directive to remain in effect and asked the court to reinstate her as Redstone's health care agent and let her manage his medical care.

Loeb & Loeb did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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