Sumner Redstone seeks to dismiss lawsuit by Viacom CEO

AP News
|
Posted: Jun 20, 2016 8:18 PM

BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for media mogul Sumner Redstone on Monday filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit in Massachusetts court alleging Redstone wasn't mentally competent when he removed two trustees of entities that control Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp.

Redstone's attorneys are asking the probate court in Canton to toss out the lawsuit, saying Redstone has not been deemed incompetent by a court or by medical doctors, the two conditions under which he could be deemed incompetent and his authority under the Sumner M. Redstone National Amusements Trust could be suspended.

The lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts because that's where the trust is administered.

The motion also seeks to require that Viacom chief executive Philippe Dauman and board member George Abrams pursue their claims in California, where Redstone lives. The 93-year-old Redstone has been advised against traveling across the country, according to the motion.

A spokesman for Dauman and Abrams said in a statement the motion represents "continued efforts to avoid a fair inquiry into Redstone's well-being."

Dauman and Abrams sued Redstone last month, seeking to be restored to their roles as trustees and as board members of National Amusements Inc., the movie theater chain.

In the lawsuit, the men allege Redstone was not mentally competent when he stripped them of their roles. They also allege that Redstone is being manipulated by his once-estranged daughter, Shari Redstone.

In court papers, lawyers for Dauman and Abrams have asked the judge to order an immediate medical evaluation of Redstone. They also ask for a quick trial, arguing that Redstone is suffering from "overwhelming physical ailments" and has a progressive neurological disease characterized by dementia.

Redstone's attorneys have filed court papers saying he has been examined twice recently by a geriatric psychiatrist, who said Redstone is "clearly communicating" his business decisions.

Viacom Inc., a media conglomerate based in New York, owns the Paramount Pictures movie studio and pay TV channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET.