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Judge Rules Viacom’s Redstone May Undergo Medical Exam

January 22, 2016

Sumner Redstone in  2013 Sumner Redstone in  2013
Sumner Redstone in 2013 Photograph by Frazer Harrison—Getty Images

(Reuters) – A California judge on Friday ruled that Viacom executive chairman Sumner Redstone can be examined by a doctor hired by Redstone‘s ex-girlfriend in a dispute over the media mogul’s mental competency.

Allan Mayer, a spokesman for lawyers representing ex-girlfriend Manuela Herzer, said the ruling came in a court hearing in Los Angeles.

Investors in Viacom are closely following the dispute, which has raised concerns about whetherRedstone is capable of continuing as executive chairman of Viacom (VIAB) and CBS (CBS), both of which he controls.

Questions about Redstone‘s health were heightened in November after Herzer filed a lawsuit that raised doubts about the billionaire’s competence.

The judge rejected a request by Herzer’s lawyers to depose Redstone, according to Gabrielle Vidal, an attorney for Redstone. “We are gratified that the Court continues to reject Ms. Herzer’s increasingly desperate and disingenuous attempts to depose Mr. Redstone,” Loeb said in a statement.

Herzer had been chosen by Redstone to make healthcare decisions for him in case he was not able to, her lawsuit said, until Redstone executed a new agreement on Oct. 16 to remove her in favor of Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. Herzer argues the mogul was mentally incompetent when he made the move.

Redstone‘s lawyers say he is competent and that Herzer is pursuing a “personal financial agenda.”