Sumner Redstone Competency Hearing Ends With No Ruling

Sumner Redstone Philippe Dauman
Rex Shuttertsock

After a daylong hearing about the mental competency of Viacom mogul Sumner Redstone, a Massachusetts judge told a packed courtroom that he needed time to consider the issues at hand.

Judge George Phelan of Massachusetts Probate Court in Canton, Mass., asked for a transcript of the trial that unfolded in Los Angeles Superior Court in May over the question of Redstone’s mental state. That case was brought by Redstone’s former girlfriend, Manuela Herzer, after she was removed from Redstone’s home last October.

At issue on Thursday was the request by Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and Viacom board member George Abrams for an expedited trail in their lawsuit claiming that the mogul’s daughter, Shari Redstone, was behind their ouster in May from the board of Redstone’s National Amusements and the family trust that will control Redstone’s empire after his death.


Shari Redstone Philippe Dauman Viacom

Sumner Redstone Fight: Philippe Dauman Slams Shari Redstone as Hearing Approaches

The judge questioned key attorneys about how Redstone was receiving and communicating information from his home in Beverly Park, where the 93-year-old relies on nurses aides and staffers.

Dauman and Abrams contend that Sumner Redstone does not have the mental capacity to have made the decision to remove them from the boards. The pair maintain that Shari Redstone is manipulating her ailing father to pursue her own agenda of seizing control of Viacom and CBS.

Dauman and Abrams are pushing for a medical evaluation of Sumner Redstone ASAP because of his age and frail health. Lawyers for Redstone opposed that idea in a court filing as “an unnecessary and harassing intrusion on Sumner’s privacy and integrity.” Redstone attorneys also argue that Sumner Redstone’s competency is not the deciding factor because the removals of Dauman and Abrams were approved by a majority of National Amusements board members.

The hearing, which drew more than 40 attorneys from both sides, ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET and from 2 p.m. to just after 4 p.m. Les Fagen served as lead attorney for Dauman. Robert Klieger represented Sumner Redstone while Elizabeth Burnett repped Shari Redstone.

Phelan gave no indication when he would issue a ruling, according to reps who attended the hearing.

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