A hearing on a motion by one of Sumner Redstone’s former longtime live-in companions to dismiss allegations that she was part of an effort to extract cash, jewelry, designer clothing and real estate by emotionally abusing the billionaire was delayed Friday after a judge criticized lawyers on both sides for their paperwork.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Hess told lawyers for defendant Manuela Herzer that it was hard for him to determine what declaration and deposition testimony supports their particular points. He then addressed Redstone’s lawyers, saying they had not clearly identified the triable issues.
“Don’t leave me guessing,” Hess said, noting that if either side appeals his ruling the record has to be clear. He set another hearing for June 4.
Redstone, now 94, sued Herzer and Sydney Holland in October 2016, alleging they developed a scheme to isolate the former Viacom and CBS Corp. chairman from family and close friends so they could drain his bank accounts and enhance their position in his estate plan.
Herzer and Holland allegedly took so much from Redstone that he was pushed into debt by the gifts and the enormous taxes that went with them, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit accuses the women of elder abuse, fraud and putting their interests ahead of those of Redstone. Herzer’s attorneys counter in their client’s motion to dismiss the allegations that he acted of his own free will.
“Sumner himself has never communicated to anyone that he did not want to make these gifts, that he regretted making them or that he wanted these gifts revoked because he was unduly influenced,” Herzer’s lawyers state in their court papers.