Sumner Redstone Wins Hold on Mental Incapacity Lawsuit

  • Billionaire's request to dismiss case is scheduled for January
  • Judge finds no urgency in ex-girlfriend's claims in lawsuit

Sumner Redstone can’t be questioned by lawyers for his ex-girlfriend before a judge has ruled on the media billionaire’s request to throw out her lawsuit alleging he isn’t mentally capable of making his own health-care decisions.

California Superior Court Judge Clifford Klein on Monday said that he didn’t think the case was urgent simply because Redstone is 92 years old. Klein said the request by Pierce O’Donnell, a lawyer for Manuela Herzer, to take a videotaped deposition of Redstone was premature until the case has survived the request to dismiss it.

Redstone, the Viacom Inc. founder and chairman who controls that company and CBS Corp., kicked Herzer out of his Beverly Hills home last month and removed her as his decision maker on his advance health care directive should he become unable to make his own decisions. Herzer sued him last week seeking a court ruling that Redstone is mentally incapacitated and reinstating her as his proxy.

“We are pleased the court today expressly rejected Ms. Herzer’s claims of
urgency and granted our request to stay discovery pending next year’s hearing
on our motion to dismiss,” Gabrielle Vidal, Redstone’s lawyer, said in a statement after the hearing in Los Angeles.

Klein tentatively scheduled a hearing for Jan. 27 on Redstone’s request to dismiss the case.

Redstone argues Herzer’s suit should be tossed based on a provision of California probate law that says the petition can be thrown out if it isn’t reasonably needed to protect the patient.

Petition ‘Farce’

Redstone’s lawyers said in a court filing that Herzer’s petition is a “farce” and that she’s merely concerned about being removed from his will.

Herzer, who’s been Redstone’s friend for almost 20 years and says she was told to leave his home on Oct. 12 without being allowed to talk to him, claims he had been manipulated to turn against her, according to court filings.

O’Donnell said after the hearing that he was pleased the case will proceed even if at a more “relaxed” pace.

“They tried to throw out the case on day one,” O’Donnell said. “We’re going to move forward and prepare for their motion to dismiss.”

The case is In re Advance Health Care Directive of Sumner M. Redstone, BP168725, Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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