A former live-in companion of Sumner Redstone was granted dismissal Tuesday of her own probate court petition challenging the 94-year-old billionaire’s modification of his trust — which deprived her of about $70 million in cash and real estate she alleges he promised her — because she believes her filing was premature.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan agreed with lawyers for Manuela Herzer that her petition was effectively dropped when she filed a request for dismissal in April.
Her court papers stated she was doing so “without prejudice,” meaning she can bring the action again when it makes sense to do so.
In their court papers, Herzer’s lawyers say trust challenges of this nature are typically filed after the trustor dies and the trust becomes irrevocable. They allege Redstone will remain subject to “undue influence or fraud” until his death.
Herzer’s lawyers contend Redstone’s daughter, Shari, is actually making the trust decisions that have negatively affected Herzer’s financial interests.
Herzer’s petition was brought in response to a ruling by Judge Robert Hess that her inheritance claim — which originally was part of her lawsuit against Shari Redstone — should have been brought in probate court.
Herzer’s petition asked that an amendment to the Redstone trust that eliminated her as a beneficiary be invalidated. The October 2015 revision deprived Herzer of her claims to $50 million in cash and to Redstone’s Beverly Park mansion, which is valued at $20 million.
Redstone also removed Herzer from his charitable foundation, which is largely devoted to advancements in cancer treatment and burn recovery, according to her court papers, which state that she was “significantly involved” with the charity.
Redstone’s lawyers want the judge to validate the trust amendment.
Redstone kicked another former live-in girlfriend, Sydney Holland, out of his home in September 2015 after accusing her of cheating on him. A month later, he evicted Herzer, amended his trust and revoked her ability to make health care decisions on his behalf.
Herzer previously filed a court action asking a judge to find that Redstone lacked the mental capacity to remove her as his health care agent, but her case was dismissed in May 2016 after one day of trial testimony. Herzer then immediately sued Shari Redstone and the latter’s son, Tyler Korff. Those claims are still pending trial.
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