Media mogul Sumner Redstone is set to be the latest client of Samuel Ingham, who previously served as a court-appointed conservator for pop star Britney Spears.
Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom, was ruled incapacitated by a Los Angeles Judge on Monday. Ingham was appointed as an independent legal guardian.
The ruling came as part of ongoing litigation about Redstone’s trust. Manuela Herzer, a former companion of Redstone’s, filed a lawsuit to be reinstated in his will after she was written out in 2016. That lawsuit has been withdrawn, but earlier this year Redstone filed to preserve the 2016 change.
Herzer’s lawyers have argued that Sumner Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone, is directing the litigation, and lawyers for Sumner Redstone and his grandson, Tyler Korff, asked for a review of his competence to prevent appeals on those grounds at a later date.
The judge ruled that Sumner Redstone was incapacitated on the grounds of a severe speech impairment, but specified that the ruling had no bearing on his mental competence.
A lawyer for Sumner Redstone said the ruling would not affect his role at National Amusements Inc, which owns a controlling share in CBS and Viacom. CBS sued National Amusements earlier this year in an attempt to wrest back control from the Redstones, and prevent a merger with Viacom, which is favored by Shari Redstone.
But the ouster of CBS CEO Les Moonves earlier this year following sexual harassment allegations may have opened a path to push through the merger. Moonves was one of the merger’s biggest opponents at the network.