Both Sides Claim Victory in Ongoing Suit Over Sumner Redstone’s Mental Competence

December 22, 2015, 7:43 PM UTC
Photograph by Frazer Harrison—Getty Images

Both sides claimed victory after a California court decision issued Monday in the legal battle over the mental readiness of 92-year-old Viacom and CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone.

The judge ruled that lawyers for Redstone’s former girlfriend, Manuela Herzer, may question the billionaire’s two doctors and Viacom’s chief executive, according to a Reuters report. Herzer filed a petition in November saying that Redstone was not competent enough to make his own decisions after he removed her from an advanced care directive that gave her decision-making powers over his health care. The petition, which was read closely by investors in Redstone’s companies, claimed that executive was “unable to reliably communicate, unaware of his surroundings,” incontinent, and “obsessed with eating steak,” despite being on a feeding tube.

But while Herzer’s legal team claimed victory in gaining access to Redstone’s doctors, the judge stopped short of allowing a deposition of Redstone himself. “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 not be at his finest hour in this final chapter,” the judge wrote in his ruling, according to The New York Times. “Let him live in his home in peace.”

The next hearing for the lawsuit is scheduled for Feb. 8.

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