A judge Monday dismissed a bid by media billionaire Sumner Redstone’s former girlfriend to regain control of his health care, finding the media mogul was of sound mind when he removed her from that position last October.
But the battle over the majority owner of Viacom and CBS isn’t over.
Redstone’s ex-flame subsequently filed a new lawsuit against his daughter, grandsons and members of his personal staff.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan granted a motion by Redstone’s attorneys to toss Manuela Herzer’s petition. They argued the 92-year- old billionaire knew what he was doing when he decided he no longer wanted her in charge of making medical decisions on his behalf and that he was not the subject of undue influence of his family members and his caretakers.
Cowan cited the testimony of Redstone, which he viewed Friday on video, a day after lawyers on both sides questioned him at his Beverly Park home.
“Redstone had not otherwise intended to appear at trial in view of the medical risks and difficulties involved in doing so,” Cowan wrote in his 17- page decision. “However, Redstone’s testimony has ultimately defeated her case.”
Though Redstone had some problems speaking and swallowing, he was clear about his intentions, Cowan found.
“The court was able to see the strong conviction he had about what he said,” Cowan wrote. “He was very composed and did not appear angry. The court does not believe Redstone had any confusion about what he was asked about his wishes or the reasons for his wishes.”
Asked by one of his lawyers what he wanted the judge to do, Redstone replied he desired that his 62-year-old daughter, Shari Redstone, serve as his health care agent, Cowan wrote.
“Redstone made crystal clear at his deposition that the reason he did not want Herzer as his agent was that he had kicked her out of his home,” Cowan wrote. “He did not trust her because he believed she had lied to him and stolen money from him.”
The new Herzer lawsuit names as defendants Shari Redstone, her sons Tyler and Brandon Korff, several of her father’s nurses, as well as his house manager and driver. The suit alleges intentional interference with expected inheritance and breach of contract.
The complaint alleges Shari Redstone put together an effort to remove Herzer last September.
“As Sumner lay ill in a hospital room, Shari organized and implemented what would eventually become a successful campaign to turn Sumner against Herzer and strip Herzer not only of her role as her health care agent, but also of her ($70 million) inheritance,” the suit alleges.
The suit further states that Shari Redsone used her father’s staff “to carry out her insidious plan and then resorting literally to espionage, bribery, an illegal eviction by force and deceit to get her way.”
Two days later, Herzer was “banished from Sumner’s house” and six days later her ability to make his health care decisions was terminated, the suit alleges.
An attorney for Shari Redstone did not immediately reply to request for comment.
According to a transcript of the Redstone deposition, he was emphatic when he said he no longer wanted Herzer around.
“Did you ever say that Manuela was the love of your life?,” Herzer’s lawyer, Pierce O’Donnell, asked Redstone.
“Yes,” Redstone replied.
“Do you still love her?” O’Donnell inquired.
“No,” said Redstone, who was executive chairman of both Viacom and CBS Corp. until stepping down in February.
Asked to explain why he did not explain to Herzer why he was ordering her out of his house and his life, Redstone answered, “Because she’s a (expletive) bitch.”
Herzer contends she oversaw Redstone’s daily care until she was evicted from his house on Oct. 12 in a confrontation with his driver, who told her, “Mr. Redstone doesn’t want you here.”
O’Donnell said he believes Redstone was “brainwashed” into allowing those around him to evict Herzer.
O’Donnell made a brief statement in court today, naming the witnesses he intended to call, but acknowledging he expected Cowan to finalize his tentative ruling.
—Staff and wire reports