Sumner Redstone Asks Court to Toss MA Case

     CANTON, Mass. (CN) — Media mogul Sumner Redstone asked a Massachusetts court to dismiss undue-influence claims from two former board members, arguing the state is an improper venue.
     Philippe Dauman and George Abrams filed suit in Norfolk Probate Court last month, alleging that 93-year old Redstone was acting under the influence of his daughter when he decided to remove the two men from the Board of Trustee of National Amusement, which is headquartered in Norwood, Mass.
     This week, Redstone, the head of a media empire that includes controlling shares of Viacom and CBS, moved to dismiss the case, questioning the appropriateness of the venue given that Redstone no longer lives in Massachusetts and the majority of the company’s business is conducted outside of the state.
     Meanwhile, Dauman and Philippe filed a motion in Norfolk this week demanding a court-ordered test to assess Redstone’s mental capacity.
     Although the trust is technically registered in Massachusetts, the majority of the trust’s activity takes place in California, which is also where Sumner currently lives.
     Shortly after replacing the two trustees, Sumner filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to confirm the validity of his move to replace Dauman and Abrams as CEO and board member of Viacom, respectively. The two plaintiffs have also demanded that Redstone’s mental capacity be tested in the Los Angeles court.
     Redstone also points out that there is pending litigation in Delaware over the removal of Dauman and Abrams as directors of Viacom.
     “The movant believes, therefore that either of these two forums (California or Delaware) are the proper venue where the substantive matters raised by plaintiffs in their complaint should be heard,” Sumner’s June 20 motion to dismiss states.
     In an additional filing, Redstone also argues that even if the courts were to deem him incapacitated, such a finding would only be appropriately reached in California, where he lives, not in Massachusetts.
     Other defendants filed their own motions to dismiss, including Shari Redstone, who argued that the plaintiffs’ claims were illegitimate because Sumner Redstone has not been deemed “intellectually incapacitated.”
     The younger Redstone argues that Dauman changed his story about her father’s mental state, after defending him in May in an unrelated case in which the media mogul’s ex-girlfriend also claimed that he was mentally incapacitated.
     “Now, however, solely to advance his own interests, Dauman has turned on his mentor and long-time friend, Sumner, and concocted quite a different story,” according to Shari Redstone’s memo filed in conjunction with her motion to dismiss. “In his unverified, unsworn amended complaint, Dauman conjures up a March 2016 visit with Sumner in which Dauman now claims Sumner was not ‘engaged and attentive’ at all, but rather ‘almost totally non-responsive’ and ‘could not meaningfully communicate at all.'”
     A hearing on the motions to dismiss will take place in Norfolk Probate Court on June 30.

%d bloggers like this: