12:56pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Philippe Dauman Wants to Fast-Track Lawsuit Determining Control of Viacom
Viacom chief executive and chairman Philippe Dauman asked a Massachusetts probate court on Thursday for expedited discovery and a speedy trial in a lawsuit that will examine whether Shari Redstone is unduly influencing her father, Sumner Redstone, to take control of the company.
Dauman filed his complaint on Monday, and has now submitted an amended version that includes as new co-defendants various Redstone family members who are beneficiaries of the Sumner Redstone National Amusements Trust. Dauman and George Abrams were booted as Trustees last week and are now looking to restore their position in an entity that will have 80 percent shareholder control of Viacom and CBS upon Sumner Redstone's death or incapacity.
According to a motion to expedite, "While it remains unclear how the selection of individuals who are under Ms. Redstone's influence and control are in the best interests of Viacom, it is clear that the governance of Viacom and CBS, both substantially publicly traded companies, hangs in the balance, as do the interest of those companies' shareholders and employees. There is also risk to the grandchildren of Mr. Redstone who are not within Shari's family."
Sumner Redstone has his own petition pending in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking affirmation of the changes made to the Trust.
In a statement, Shari Redstone says, "We are looking forward to an expedited dismissal of this meritless suit."