Judge Refuses to Toss Lawsuit Against Shari Redstone Filed by Sumner Redstone’s Ex

Shari Redstone Sumner Redstone
Todd Williamson/Invision for LA friendly House/AP Images

A judge on Monday refused to throw out allegations that Shari Redstone, the daughter of ailing Viacom mogul Sumner Redstone, deprived her father’s former mistress of her inheritance.

The lawsuit is one of several that followed the elder Redstone’s eviction of two longtime companions, Sydney Holland and Manuela Herzer, and reconciled with his daughter in the fall of 2015. That event precipitated a broad shake-up of Viacom, which saw the departure of CEO Philippe Dauman in 2016 and of Paramount CEO Brad Grey in February.

Shari Redstone won a drawn-out court battle with the former companions to control her father’s medical decisions. Sumner Redstone filed suit last fall accusing his former companions of swindling him out of $150 million. Herzer and Holland filed countersuits seeking financial support and, in Herzer’s case, reinstatement in Redstone’s estate plan.

Holland also filed suit against Shari Redstone, who is now vice chair of CBS and Viacom, accusing her of invading her privacy and causing her father to break his promise to support her and her daughter. Holland contends she is entitled to half of Sumner Redstone’s liquid assets and a half-interest in his Beverly Park home.

Shari Redstone’s attorneys filed a demurrer, alleging that Holland could not show a valid oral agreement between herself and Sumner Redstone, and could not show that Shari Redstone was aware of the agreement.

After lengthy argument in court on Monday, Judge Robert Hess rejected Shari Redstone’s motion.

“The judge agrees that Sydney has claims against Shari that will go forward,” said Holland’s attorney, Mark Holscher. “This is not a fight that Sydney wanted, but she’s going to fight and the court has recognized that she has legitimate claims.”

Robert Klieger, Shari Redstone’s attorney, declined to comment outside court. In court, he argued that Holland’s allegations are better suited to probate court.

“There are no damages while Mr. Redstone is alive,” he argued. “This is simply an attempt through clever pleading to essentially do an end-run by bringing a damages claim where there are yet no damages.”