Court won't order immediate evaluation of mogul Redstone

AP News
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Posted: Dec 21, 2015 7:07 PM
Court won't order immediate evaluation of mogul Redstone

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge Monday declined to order a medical examination of Sumner Redstone but ruled that lawyers for his former companion can take the sworn testimony of two of the ailing media mogul's doctors.

Judge David J. Cowan also stated that Redstone's longtime attorney, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, may need to be deposed about his recent interactions with Redstone, but if he gives testimony it should be restricted to details about medical issues.

The rulings were made in a case pursued by Manuela Herzer, Redstone's former girlfriend who until recently had control over his medical care. She was kicked out of his home in October and contends that the 92-year-old can no longer carry on conversations or make informed decisions.

"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's attorney, Gabrielle Vidal, has objected to an independent evaluation of the doctor, citing recent evaluations by his doctors including a brain scan that didn't find any signs of impairment.

She praised Monday's ruling, saying Herzer's actions in the case represent a disregard for Redstone's welfare.

"We are glad Mr. Redstone will be able to continue to enjoy the holiday season with his family and friends uninterrupted," Vidal wrote in a statement.

Herzer's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, said the ruling would allow him to get information, including results of a recent brain scan, that he will use to try to get Herzer reinstated as the person in charge of Redstone's health care. He has said Redstone has paid Herzer tens of millions of dollars and she is not interested in his fortune.

"All my client wants is to protect Mr. Redstone," O'Donnell said.

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. Dauman has been put in charge of making medical decisions for the mogul.

Herzer's lawyers have twice sought a court-ordered examination of Redstone, but Cowan said it was too early to know whether having another doctor evaluate him — or have lawyers question him — would be necessary to resolve the case.

"Whether you'll ultimately get to take Mr. Redstone's deposition, I don't know at this time," Cowan said.

O'Donnell said he intends to take Dauman's deposition in January and will travel to New York if necessary. Dauman has submitted a sworn declaration describing Redstone as engaged during recent discussions.

Herzer has alleged Redstone's signature was forged on a document allowing her retrieve her belongings from his home, but Vidal has said she witnessed the mogul sign the document. The forgery allegations were not discussed during Monday's hearing.

Cowan set a Feb. 8 hearing to decide whether the case will proceed.

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP .