A judge said Tuesday she will not rule this week on a motion by media mogul Sumner Redstone to advance the 2020 trial date of his elder abuse suit against a former live-in companion, saying she will take up the matter in January.
Redstone’s case against Manuela Herzer seeks to recover assets he alleges she wrongfully extracted from him. The case is set for trial in February 2020.
Redstone’s lawyers are asking that the trial start a year or so earlier because the businessman is 95 years old and a hearing on the motion had been scheduled for Thursday. But Herzer’s lawyers filed court papers Monday asking that any decision on rescheduling the trial be delayed until Redstone’s pending application for the appointment of a guardian ad litem is decided. Redstone’s lawyers stated in a related matter on Friday that they intend to seek the appointment of a guardian ad litem on their client’s behalf.
“It is critical the court have the benefit of reviewing Mr. Redstone’s guardian ad litem application, the grounds for that application and for how long Mr. Redstone has purportedly been incapacitated,” Herzer’s court papers state.
After discussing the issues with the lawyers in chambers, Nieto reset the hearing on Redstone’s motion for an early trial to Jan. 9.
Lawyers for Redstone — former chairman of CBS and Viacom — have argued their client is not incapacitated and that the guardian ad litem’s role would be to protect the billionaire’s interests and argue on his behalf. But Herzer’s lawyers say the application bolsters their contention that Redstone is not competent to control the litigation and that it is actually being directed by his daughter, Shari, a longtime Herzer adversary.
“Appointment of a guardian ad litem for Mr. Redstone would be based upon his incapacity,” according to Herzer’s court papers.
Herzer alleges in a separate suit that Shari Redstone convinced the nurses serving her father to turn him against Herzer, who was forced to move out of the home in 2015. In her complaint filed in May 2016, Herzer maintains that the October 2015 revision of the Redstone trust deprived her of her claims to $50 million in cash and to Redstone’s Beverly Park mansion, which is valued at $20 million.
Trial of Herzer’s suit is scheduled for December 2019.