Sumner Redstone is set to undergo an hour-long medical examination by a psychiatrist. A doctor hired by Redstone’s companion Manuela Herzer will be allowed to examine the ailing 92-year-old executive chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. amid an ongoing legal dispute, according to New York Daily News.
The doctor’s examination could support Herzer’s contention that Redstone is no longer mentally competent. Herzer, 51, managed Sumner’s household affairs and his day-to-day care until mid-October, when she was booted from Redstone’s mansion in Beverly Park. She also was removed from her prominent position as the agent in charge of Redstone’s advance healthcare directive should the mogul become incapacitated.
Cowan, in a tentative ruling on Friday, wrote it was only fair that doctors on both sides of the legal dispute be allowed to examine Sumner Redstone. Two doctors who treat him have already testified.
Sumner Redstone’s speech pathologist and his nurse can be present during the exam. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David J. Cowan said an examination by a third doctor, Dr. Stephen Read, who was selected by Herzer and her attorneys, could not be videotaped.
“We are gratified that Judge Cowan struck an equitable balance that assures our client has a fair opportunity to prove that her beloved Sumner was not competent when the attorneys had him remove her as his health caregiver,” Herzer’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, said in a statement.
The judge once again denied a request from Herzer and her lawyers that Redstone provide sworn testimony in a deposition. “We are gratified that the court continues to reject Ms. Herzer’s increasingly desperate and disingenuous attempts to depose Mr. Redstone,” Sumner’s attorney, Gabrielle Vidal, said in a statement after a court hearing.
In Cowan’s tentative ruling, the judge wrote: “The court grants Herzer the opportunity for Dr. Read to go to Redstone’s home, or for Redstone to go to Dr. Read’s office if Redstone prefers, for a one hour interview by Dr. Read alone, without Herzer or any of her attorneys or others on her behalf present.”
Herzer has testified that she is concerned about Redstone’s health and his medical care.
Judge Cowan said the medical evaluation should not compromise Sumner Redstone privacy or dignity. He added that Redstone should not face a deposition.
Redstone is the executive chairman of Viacom and CBS, and controls about 80 percent of the voting stock in the two companies. While the lawsuit concerns his personal life, the court fight has raised questions about whether he should continue in his roles at the two companies.
New regulatory filings on Friday showed that he now has a diminished role at Viacom. The company slashed Redstone’s annual pay by 85 percent during the 2015 fiscal year to $2 million, from $13 million the previous year.
When Sumner Redstone replaced Herzer as his healthcare proxy in mid-October, the billionaire also allegedly revoked “part of his estate plan whereby he had previously left a very significant sum of money to Herzer,” the court ruling said. “Sumner asked Manuela, and she promised, to care for and protect him for the rest of his life,” O’Donnell said. “Today’s victory is a major milestone in honoring her commitment.”