Sumner Redstone was mentally incapictated when he booted ex-girlfriend Manuela Herzer from home, she claims.
The bitter battle over whether ailing billionaire Sumner Redstone is mentally incapacitated is going to trial.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Monday that estranged ex-girlfriend Manuela Herzer can proceed with her claim that the 92-year-old media mogul was an incompetent “living ghost” when she was kicked out of his gated mansion in October and stripped of her duties as his healthcare agent.
The judge confirmed that a recent exam conducted by prominent UCLA-based geriatric psychiatrist Stephen Read raised serious questions about how much Redstone understood when he replaced Herzer with Viacom boss Philippe Dauman as the person in charge of his Advance Health Care Directive.
Judge David Cowan said Dr. Read’s 37-page opinion “found that Redstone lacked mental capacity when he allegedly revoked the AHCD.”
The judge also expressed concern over an alleged “feud” among Redstone’s nurses.
Manuela Herzer can proceed with her claim that Sumner Redstone was an incompetent “living ghost” when she was kicked out of his gated mansion and stripped of her duties as his healthcare agent.
He said it appeared “nobody is sufficiently in charge of the ongoing care Redstone needs again whether he does or does not have capacity.”
The judge set May 6 as the start date for a trial.
The Monday ruling capped months of fighting between Herzer’s and Redstone’s lawyers.
Attorneys for the tycoon have argued he knew exactly what he was doing when he booted Herzer.
“Ms. Herzer refuses to acknowledge that Mr. Redstone does not want her in his life,” the lawyers said in paperwork filed last week. “She nowhere disputes that she threatened to sue him for millions of dollars in a landlord tenant dispute in the weeks just prior to initiating this action.”
The Redstone lawyers have filed supportive declarations from Dauman and Redstone’s daughter Shari as evidence in the case.
The judge made clear in his ruling Monday that even if the court decides Redstone was indeed mentally incapacitated in October, it’s not clear that Herzer would resume her role as his healthcare proxy.
Redstone’s lawyer Gabrielle Vidal released a statement downplaying Herzer’s Monday victory.
“Surviving a motion to dismiss is a far cry from winning her petition,” her statement said.
“This decision is not a finding on the merits and it does not change the fact that Ms. Herzer’s motives are purely financial,” she said.
“We are confident that when the court has evaluated the evidence it will determine that Mr. Redstone had capacity to change his health care directive and that Ms. Herzer should have no role in his life whatsoever,” Vidal said.
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