LOS ANGELES (CN) – A state court judge Monday refused to toss the claims of Sumner Redstone’s ex-girlfriend, who says his daughter Shari Redstone prevented her from getting her share of the media mogul’s estate.
Last year, Sumner Redstone, 93, sued his exes Manuela Herzer and Sydney Holland for elder abuse, piling the accusations onto a tangle of legal claims that threatened to unspool his $40 billion media empire.
The corporate Hollywood imbroglio began in 2015 when Herzer challenged the ailing businessman’s ability to make health care decisions. During a brief trial, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Cowan ruled that the Viacom and CBS tycoon had made clear in a video deposition that he wanted Herzer out of his life.
Herzer and Holland have fought Redstone’s elder abuse claims. They say Redstone promised them financial support for the rest of their lives. Holland also sued Shari Redstone, claiming she deprived Holland of half of Sumner Redstone’s liquid assets, including cash, bonds, and stocks, as well as a share of his Beverly Park mansion.
Holland said Shari Redstone had enlisted her father’s nurses to spy on her and had persuaded her father to take Holland out of his estate plan after he threw her out of the house.
Shari, who is now vice president of Viacom and CBS, asked the court to throw out the cross-complaint. In the Feb. 27 filing, she argued that if Holland “truly believes” she should be in the estate plan then she should have filed a petition in probate court.
Her attorney, Robert Klieger, made the same point on Monday during a hearing before Judge Robert Hess, arguing there was no damages claim while Redstone is still living.
“This is simply an attempt through clever pleading to essentially do an end-run by bringing a damages claim where there are yet no damages,” Klieger said, according to Variety.
But Hess declined to strike the complaint.
“This is not a fight that Sydney wanted, but she is going to fight and the court recognizes that she has legitimate claims and that the damages can include half of Sumner Redstone’s liquid assets,” Holland’s attorney Mark Holscher said in a statement after the hearing, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Redstone’s initial filing claimed the two women isolated him from friends and family, hired and fired household staff, and decided who could visit him. He portrayed them as manipulative and greedy and said they had “abused their positions of trust,” telling him that his daughter Shari Redstone and his grandchildren “hated him and did not care enough to call or visit.”
“They manipulated and emotionally abused Redstone to get what they wanted – jewelry, designer clothing, real estate in Beverly Hills, New York, and Paris, and money, lots of it,” the lawsuit states.
By the time Redstone banished the two women from his residence, they had taken more than $150 million in gifts, according to his lawsuit.
After Cowan threw out Herzer’s petition in probate court, Herzer responded immediately with a $100 million civil lawsuit claiming she was deprived of her inheritance when Redstone removed her from his advance health care directive in September 2015.