UPDATED: Sumner Redstone’s granddaughter will not be allowed to join a fierce legal battle over control of the media magnate’s health care, a Los Angeles County judge ruled on Wednesday.
Judge David J. Cowan rejected 34-year-old Keryn Redstone’s bid to join the case on the side of Manuela Herzer, the long-time companion to the man who holds controlling interests in both CBS and Viacom.
Keryn Redstone said in a provocative declaration a day earlier that her grandfather was being held a virtual prisoner in his Beverly Park mansion by a controlling staff and with the complicity of lawyers and his daughter, Shari.
But Cowan ruled Wednesday that the daughter of Redstone’s estranged son, Brent, does not have a place in a trial now scheduled to begin May 6. The judge said he did not believe “that her being a party truly adds anything to this case.” He added that though the Redstone family had “its own history…this court case is not going to be about the Redstone family history.”
Herzer is seeking to prove that she was improperly ejected from the billionaire’s mansion in October and, shortly thereafter, removed as his health care agent — the person to make decisions about his care, in the event he was declared mentally incapacitated. Herzer claims that the 92-year-old Redstone has become mentally incompetent and that people around him are making decisions that should have been left to her.
Keryn Redstone appears ready to back up Herzer’s view and she is expected to be a witness in the competency trial, despite Cowan’s ruling saying she did not need to be added as a party in the case.
While Herzer has said she entered the case solely out of her concern for Redstone’s well-being, lawyers for the media powerhouse said she is merely positioning herself for a fight over his estate. Herzer was once set to get $50 million and a home valued at $20 million, before she was stricken from Redstone’s inheritance.
Another development Wednesday means that the trial will not feature a battle of dueling neurologists. Herzer’s lawyers had requested that their expert, Dr. Michael Geschwind, be allowed to examine Redstone for an hour to present his opinion on the nonagenarian’s mental competency. They said they needed the exam to match the opinions they expected to hear from Dr. Hart Cohen on behalf of Redstone’s own legal team.
But after Redstone’s lawyers said that Cohen would not be a witness in the case, Herzer’s lawyers withdrew their request for an examination by Geschwind.