12:15pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Shari Redstone Can't Dodge Damages in Spying Lawsuit From Sumner's Ex
Shari Redstone will have to keep fighting a spying lawsuit that was filed against her after her media mogul father sued his ex Sydney Holland for elder abuse — and it could come with a hefty damages award.
L.A. Superior Court Judge Robert Hess on Monday denied a demurrer to and a motion to strike damages claims arising from Holland's cross-complaint — which alleges that Redstone promised to take care of Holland and her daughter for the rest of their lives, but Shari successfully conspired to get rid of her.
By way of background, Holland was the second woman to sue Shari — after Sumner Redstone's former companion Manuela Herzer in May of 2016 filed an invasion of privacy complaint, alleging that Shari recruited household staff to spy on Herzer in an effort to remove her from her father's life and bank account.
The 94-year-old mogul is suing both of the women for elder abuse — which is what prompted Holland's action — claiming they manipulated him into giving them $150 million worth of gifts while in his good graces. Herzer is also preparing to appeal last year's probate ruling that Redstone knew what he was doing when he removed her from his health care directive after kicking both women out of his mansion.
Redstone attorney Robert Klieger argued that Holland's requests for damages were an end-run around having to wait until the mogul dies to challenge in probate court her removal from his will. He argued that, while she could claim some damages for emotional distress, it is improper for her to seek now as damages what she had been expecting to receive upon his death before their rift. Klieger further argued that Holland has already received $75 million from Redstone, and her legal team hasn't put forth any evidence that the money isn't enough to support her and her daughter for the rest of their days.
Hess initially seemed skeptical that his courtroom was the proper venue for this fight. "If you are claiming that her removal as a beneficiary of the Sumner Redstone trust resulted in damages causally related to the invasion of privacy ... then is the issue of her removal not one that ought to be in probate court?" the judge asked Holland's attorney Mark Holscher, who noted that his client has no remedy in probate court while Sumner Redstone is alive.
Ultimately, Hess decided to allow the claims to proceed. Redstone's legal team will file its reply to the cross-complaint in the next two weeks.
"This is not a fight that Sydney wanted, but she is going to fight and the court recognizes that she has legitimate claims and that the damages can include half of Sumner Redstone's liquid assets," said Holscher in a statement after Monday's hearing.