Redstone Ex Sues Previous Lawyer for $500K

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – The woman who last year threw Sumner Redstone’s $40 billion media empire into disarray by challenging the 93-year-old’s competency sued her former lawyers for the $500,000 she says she wired to the firm to support the legal claims of Redstone’s granddaughter.
     Earlier this year, a state court judge ruled that the ailing businessman has made clear in a video deposition that he wanted plaintiff Manuela Herzer out of his life, and threw her competency challenge out of court.
     Herzer followed up with a lawsuit claiming she had unlawfully lost her $70 million inheritance from a personal trust when in September 2015 Redstone removed her from his advance health care directive.
     Up until last week, Herzer was represented by well-known trial attorney Pierce O’Donnell. As recently as Sept. 7, his powerhouse firm Greenberg Glusker issued a press release for Herzer announcing that the Los Angeles County Superior Court would allow her to amend her lawsuit after the judge ruled in favor of Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone.
     According to court records, Herzer provided a change of attorney notice on Sept. 22.
     Now in a separate lawsuit filed Tuesday in state court, Herzer claims that O’Donnell’s firm breached its fiduciary duty to her by failing to advise her to seek independent counsel when it urged her to transfer $500,000 to the firm’s client trust account.
     O’Donnell’s firm Greenberg, Glusker has strongly denied the claims.
     In her lawsuit, Herzer says the June 14, 2016 wire transfer to an account at the First Republic Bank was “in connection” with Keryn Redstone’s decision to hire the firm to represent her.
     The lawsuit does not explicitly state the transfer was for legal fees and Keryn Redstone is not a party to the suit.
     According to Herzer, O’Donnell failed to provide written confirmation of the transfer for her records or explain what the money would be used for.
     O’Donnell and his firm failed to “obtain from Keryn Redstone any writing of any kind to document the nature, purpose, handling, and repayment of the June 14, 2016 $500,000 wire transaction from Herzer,” the lawsuit says.
     “Greenberg Glusker and O ‘Donnell were so anxious to get the $500,000 from Herzer that they failed in any way to protect Herzer’s interests with respect to that $500,000, to document the handling of the $500,000 or to advise Herzer to consult independent legal counsel regarding the same prior to making the wire,” the filing states.
     O’Donnell was not immediately available for comment, but his firm responded to the allegations by email.
     “Greenberg Glusker’s general counsel, Lee Dresie, stated the facts alleged in the complaint are very inaccurate and that the firm will be vigorously defending the matter,” Ira Steinberg wrote.
     Hollywood law firm Ronald Richards & Associates is now representing Herzer in her $70 million action. This month, the firm contacted Greenberg, Glusker for an accounting of the $500,000 and its return but was told the wire “was not their problem,” according to the complaint.
     Herzer has claimed that Redstone’s daughter Shari induced her father to disinherit her. In the fallout, Philippe Dauman was removed as chief executive of Viacom while Shari has since become vice chair of the Viacom and CBS boards. She is president of National Amusements, which holds controlling shares in the two media companies.
     Previously executive chairman of CBS and Viacom, Redstone is now chairman emeritus of the two companies.
     Herzer wants $500,000 in damages and a court order that requires the firm to transfer her money with interest.
     She is represented in this action by Geoffrey Long of Manhattan Beach, California.

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