Appeal seeks mental exam of media mogul Sumner Redstone

Appeal seeks mental exam of media mogul Sumner Redstone

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jan. 11, 2016 at 7:50 p.m.


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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Attorneys for Sumner Redstone's longtime companion on Monday asked a California appeals court to order a mental examination of the ailing media mogul.

The petition filed with the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles also requests an order allowing Redstone to be deposed in a dispute over his health. Redstone controls CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc.

A lower court judge has denied attempts by attorneys for Manuela Herzer to obtain their own mental examination of the 92-year-old. The judge cited Redstone's privacy rights in rejecting the requests, which come in a case in which Herzer is trying to reassert control over health care decisions for Redstone.

Redstone's publicist declined comment on the filing.

Herzer was in control of Redstone's care until late last year, when she was thrown out of his home. She has said she is only interested in the billionaire's care, not his fortune.

The appellate court is not required to hear Herzer's case or issue a ruling. Her attorneys say there is urgency because of an upcoming hearing by Redstone's lawyers to dismiss her case.

"Ms. Herzer should not be required to litigate with one hand behind her back," her attorneys wrote in Monday's filing.

Redstone's attorneys have repeatedly cited the excellent care the mogul is receiving and the opinion of top physicians that he still has the capacity to make his own decisions.

"This proceeding is not just unnecessary; it is abusive and invasive," Redstone's lawyers wrote in a filing last week.

Superior Court Judge David Cowan ruled last month that Redstone's privacy rights prevented him from being deposed.

"Nobody, including Redstone, who has achieved what he has in life, deserves, through no fault of his own, to have to then suffer the indignity at his great age of being cast in an unfavorable light, against his will, when he may be not at his finest hour in this final chapter," Cowan wrote in his ruling. "Let him live in his home in peace."

Redstone controls CBS and Viacom through National Amusements Inc., which holds nearly 80 percent of the voting stock in both media companies. He hasn't joined an investor conference call since November 2014. His longtime attorney Philippe Dauman, now Viacom's CEO, has authority to make medical decisions if Redstone is deemed incapacitated by his physician, but that has not yet happened.

Redstone's doctor submitted a sworn statement last week that the mogul has a substantial speech impediment but remains in charge of his own care. A CAT scan of Redstone's brain and throat showed no indications of a stroke or other impairment, Dr. Richard Gold wrote in the declaration.

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