Sumner Redstone case tossed by LA judge but ex-girlfriend will keep fighting

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Ex-girlfriend Manuela Herzer has vowed to continue battle over fortune of the ailing media mogul with a new $70m suit against his daughter, Shari Redstone

A judge threw out the case over Sumner Redstones medical care, opening a new front in the battle over the ailing media moguls fortune with both sides vowing new lawsuits.

The 92-year-old who controls CBS and Viacom clearly stated his intentions in videotaped testimony last week, Los Angeles superior court judge David J Cowan ruled.

Redstone said in a profanity-laced deposition that he wanted his daughter, Shari, to make medical decisions for him if he is incapacitated and that he no longer wanted former girlfriend Manuela Herzer in his life.

Herzer filed a petition last year contending that Redstone lacked the mental capacity to expel her from his home and could no longer make informed decisions. She said he was manipulated by his nursing staff and Shari Redstone.

Cowan didnt rule on Redstones mental capacity or whether he suffered undue influence. He simply said the court didnt need to get involved once Redstone made his intentions clear.

Sumner Redstone said in a profanity-laced deposition that he wanted his daughter, Shari, to make medical decisions for him.
Photograph: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

The businessman has a serious speech impediment, relies on a feeding tube and requires 24-hour care, but his doctor has not declared him incapacitated.

Herzers lawyer, Pierce ODonnell, told reporters outside court that his client had filed a new suit for at least $70m this time against Shari Redstone for interfering with Herzers expected inheritance and invasion of privacy. She alleges the daughter had set up a spy network using her fathers nurses to help her dislodge Herzer from Sumner Redstones life.

The lawsuit included emails purported to be from one of Redstones nurses, Joseph Octaviano, both to Shari Redstone and her son, Tyler Korff, describing daily care and the comings and goings of Herzer and ex-girlfriend Sydney Holland. One email describes a meeting between Hollands lawyers and Redstone that Octaviano writes was secretly taped by a nurse.

It was an orchestrated, devious campaign to take over her father and his empire, ODonnell said.

Shari Redstone said a statement on Monday that she was grateful the court ended the case. She also responded to the new lawsuit, calling it total fiction and a baseless attack against the Redstone family.

Sumner Redstones legal team, which left the courtroom without speaking to reporters, said in a statement that it would now sue to reclaim $150m Redstone gave Herzer and Holland.

Ms Herzer bet wrong when she assumed that Mr Redstones difficulty communicating would result in her reinstatement in his life and fortune, said his lawyer, Robert N Klieger.

Redstones attorneys sought to dismiss the case during the first day of a competency trial that began on Friday, calling it an unnecessary public spectacle that would compromise his dignity and privacy.

Herzers lawyers had argued that the judge should hear further testimony to keep Sumner Redstones best interests in mind and consider whether his testimony in which he called Herzer an expletive and said he no longer loved her had been coached.

Redstones attorneys noted that Herzers medical expert, Dr Stephen Read, acknowledged that Redstone understood what he was doing when he threw Herzer out of his life in October. Read also testified that he believed Redstone had a serious case of dementia.

The judge said on Friday that Redstones video testimony, which was recorded on Thursday at his home, was compelling. Redstone had difficulty speaking, required a speech therapist acting as an interpreter and sometimes pointed to letters on a letter board. He used an expletive to refer to Herzer four times in the 18-minute session.

When asked if he once loved her, he replied, Yes. Asked if he still did, he replied, No. The video was sealed but a transcript was provided.

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