Court fight erupts over care of media mogul Sumner Redstone

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A legal battle that began Wednesday over medical care for ailing media mogul Sumner Redstone has produced dueling portraits of the billionaire's health and mental state.

Redstone's former companion Manuela Herzer claims in a probate filing seeking to regain control of his care that Redstone can no longer make informed decisions and requires around-the-clock medical care.

Her claims, however, were disputed by lawyers for Redstone, who say he was evaluated by a doctor on Monday and found to be in good spirits and able to make decisions.

Herzer and Redstone dated between 1999 and 2001 and have maintained a close relationship since then. She has been designated in estate planning documents as the person Redstone wants to make medical decisions for him, her filings state.

Redstone controls CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. through National Amusements Inc., which holds nearly 80 percent of the voting stock in both media companies. Redstone hasn't joined an investor conference call since November 2014.

A Los Angeles judge will be asked on Monday to issue orders regarding Redstone's care and whether he should undergo a medical evaluation sought by Herzer. Redstone's attorneys contend that evaluation is unnecessary.

Redstone recently underwent a brain scan, which found no signs of stroke or other impairment, his court filing states.

In a statement, Redstone's attorney Gabrielle Vidal says Herzer's allegations about Redstone mental capacity are preposterous and called her filing an invasion of privacy.

In court filings, Vidal says Herzer's contention is a result of being kicked out of Redstone's home in October and stripped of her rights to make medical decisions by new estate planning documents.

Herzer's attorneys counter that Redstone didn't have adequate mental capacity to replace his former companion as his designee to make medical decisions.

"Sumner Redstone is a tragic figure in the waning days of an accomplished life," Herzer's filing states. "Once powerful and compelling, he is now unable to communicate reliably or competently manage his own health care."

Redstone technically leads both CBS and Viacom — earning a combined $24 million in compensation from the companies in fiscal 2014. CBS's chief executive is Les Moonves, while Redstone's longtime lawyer, Philippe Dauman, is CEO of Viacom.

Dauman is now Redstone's chosen person to make medical decisions for him, court filings state.

After his death, control of CBS and Viacom passes to seven trustees that include Dauman, Redstone's daughter Shari Redstone and her son Tyler Korff.


AP Business Writer Ryan Nakashima contributed to this report.


Anthony McCartney can be reached at