1:54pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Sumner Redstone's Ex-Companion Asks Court to Toss Elder Abuse Lawsuit
Sumner Redstone's ex-companion is asking the court to toss an elder abuse lawsuit against her because he won't testify in support of his claims, according to a heavily redacted motion for summary judgment filed Thursday.
Redstone in October sued his former companions Sydney Holland and Manuela Herzer for elder abuse in an effort to reclaim $150 million in gifts that he now contends were the result of their undue influence on him.
Herzer attorneys Ekwan Rhow and Ronald Richards argue that because Redstone "has refused to participate meaningfully in this litigation, and concedes that he will not provide any testimony or evidence concerning his intentions vis-a-vis gifts, money, and other items of value provided by Sumner to Herzer, there is no genuine dispute of material fact and Herzer is entitled to judgment as a matter of law as to each of the claims asserted."
In April, the court indicated that if Sumner did not testify at trial or through declaration, Herzer wouldn't be permitted to take his deposition; but if he did testify in some fashion she would be able to cross-examine him.
Attorneys for the women have repeatedly questioned whether Redstone has the capacity to sue them, contending that his daughter Shari might is pursuing the litigation because of a "personal vendetta." Holland went as far as requesting an independent medical evaluation of the 93-year-old mogul, which the court balked at earlier this year. Herzer in August failed in a similar bid. (Both women are currently suing Shari Redstone.)
The filing, which details 20 years of friendship between Herzer and Redstone, also claims that the lawsuit is nothing more than a "publicity vehicle designed to disparage" Herzer.
Rhow and Richards argue that, absent the mogul's testimony, the court has no evidence that Sumner "presently intends to revoke his prior gifts" or "was not following his own inclination" when he gave them.
Redstone attorney Robert Klieger sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement Friday in response to the filing. “Like most of Ms. Herzer’s filings in this case, in her last case, and by each of her six prior law firms, this motion is untethered from reality," he said. "The truth will come out in court, not toilet-paper filings disseminated to the press. That is where justice will be done.”