A former live-in companion of Sumner Redstone is asking the state Supreme Court to review her claims that it is too soon to determine whether the 95-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 — should be validated by a judge, the woman’s attorneys said Friday.
In their court papers, Manuela 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.
Attorney Ronald Richards, on behalf of Herzer, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan during a hearing Friday that while the Herzer petition with the high court is pending, he will soon file court papers once again raising the issue of Redstone’s mental capacity and the ability of his lawyers to act in the traditional client-agent relationship. He said a case he found from the 19th century might have repercussions in the current Redstone litigation and beyond.
“They’re basically like lawyers without a client,” Richard said after the hearing.
Herzer’s lawyers contend Redstone’s daughter, Shari, is actually making the trust decisions that have negatively affected Herzer’s financial interests.
Cowan previously agreed with Redstone’s lawyers that trial over whether the trust amendment should be validated can take place before the billionaire’s death. Herzer’s lawyers filed documents with the 2nd District Court of Appeal challenging that decision, saying there was no “current controversy” because Redstone is still alive.
A three-justice panel of the Court of Appeal denied Herzer’s petition on July 30, setting up her filing of her petition with the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Cowan on Friday set a Jan. 14 trial on the Redstone petition seeking validation of the trust amendment in case the high court declines to hear Herzer’s case.
In their court papers, Herzer’s lawyers say trust controversies such as those involving Redstone 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 maintains that the October 2015 revision of the Redstone trust 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.
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