9:23pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Sumner Redstone's Grandson Rips RICO Lawsuit Filed by Mogul's Ex-Companion
Sumner Redstone's grandson is fighting back against a lawsuit that claims he was part of an illegal conspiracy to take over the 94-year-old's companies by cutting him off from people in his life who would protect his interests.
Tyler Korff was named as a defendant alongside his mother Shari Redstone in the suit, which was filed in October by Sumner's former companion, Manuela Herzer. It alleges they committed RICO violations as part of a scheme to remove Herzer from the mogul's life in order to seize control of CBS and Viacom — and is the latest in a series of lawsuits that followed her exile from the billionaire's mansion.
An amended complaint filed in March claims Shari and Korff spied on Herzer and conspired to defame her in an effort to separate Redstone from anyone who might oppose them.
In a motion to strike, filed Friday, Korff asks the court to remove general allegations concerning the control and management of Viacom and CBS, allegations that purport to declare Redstone's wishes and allegations that took place before September 2014 or after October 2015 and do not relate to Herzer.
Korff argues that Herzer is essentially poaching claims from lawsuits filed by ex-Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and former board members George Abrams and Frederic Salerno after her previous legal tactics failed.
"Desperate to fashion a claim under RICO, Herzer blends the allegations from her prior litigations with allegations from other settled and resolved lawsuits filed by third-parties — blurring wild allegations about the control of large multinational companies in which she has no interest," writes attorney Daniel Small.
Korff also challenges Herzer's contention that Dauman, Abrams and Salerno didn't genuinely resolve those matters.
"Herzer claims that each of the parties in these litigations were 'bought off' and 'bribed,' when, in reality, their claims were settled with the participation and assistance of highly sophisticated counsel on all sides, and approved by the court," writes Small.
Redstone's grandson says the claims involving his grandfather's companies are irrelevant to whether Herzer was unfairly evicted from his life and cut out of his estate plan and would unnecessarily complicate discovery. He also argues that Herzer failed to allege that he had anything to gain related to Viacom and CBS.
"At best, the FAC alleges that Mr. Korff exchanged text messages and other communications with the healthcare staff that worked in Mr. Redstone's home for the purpose of monitoring his grandfather's well-being and protecting him from potential abuse — concerns that, as it turned out, were well-founded," writes Small.
Korff on Friday also filed a motion to dismiss Herzer's complaint, arguing she lacks standing to bring a RICO claim and the filing is a "transparent and desperate attempt to forum and judge shop." He also argues Herzer failed to adequately plead her RICO claim, that her conspiracy to defame claim is barred by the statute of limitations and that all of her causes of action are barred due to "improper claim-splitting." (Read the motion here.)