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Media mogul Redstone seeks dismissal of ex-girlfriend's suit

Sumner Redstone
Jason LaVeris | FilmMagic | Getty Images
Sumner Redstone

Lawyers for media mogul Sumner Redstone on Monday asked a court to dismiss ex-girlfriend Manuela Herzer's petition for a new evaluation of the 92-year-old's mental competence, while Herzer's attorneys said they will seek a subpoena of Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman to compel his testimony in the case.

Investors are closely following the lawsuit, which has raised concerns about whether Redstone is capable of continuing as executive chairman of Viacom and CBS Corp.

The motion filed on behalf of billionaire Redstone on Monday said he need not be examined since his own physician concluded that he was making healthcare decisions for himself. Redstone's lawyers argued that the court proceeding does not appear reasonably necessary to protect Redstone's interests and called it "abusive."

Dr. Richard Gold, Redstone's primary treating physician, said in documents submitted to the court that he saw Redstone as recently as December 30 and the visit was "routine." "Mr. Redstone seemed his usual self, and joked with me," he said.

A brain scan in November "was quite good for a 92-year-old," Gold said.

Herzer petitioned in November to have Redstone examined to see if he was able to make decisions for himself. Weeks earlier, Herzer had been told to leave Redstone's Los Angeles home and was replaced by Dauman as Redstone's healthcare agent.

On Monday, an attorney for Herzer, Pierce O'Donnell, said he would ask the court to subpoena Dauman to compel him to take part in a deposition. O'Donnell said in a statement that his firm had requested a deposition but Dauman's attorneys refused to set a date.

In a declaration to the court in November, Dauman said Redstone was "engaged and attentive" in recent conversations. No declaration from Dauman was included with Monday's motion.

In previous court documents, Herzer has described Redstone as mentally vacant, "listless" and prone to uncontrollable crying spells.

Redstone controls about 80 percent of the voting shares in CBS and Viacom through a holding company.

Herzer had been chosen by Redstone to make healthcare decisions for him in case he was not able to, her lawsuit says, until Redstone executed a new agreement on Oct. 16 to remove Herzer as his health care agent.