The legal battle over Sumner Redstone has taken two new directions — one expected, and one much less so. In a move promised last month, Attorneys for Sumner Redstone today filed a motion to dismiss Manuela Herzer’s health care and capacity suit. [Read it here.] At the same time, attorneys for Herzer have announced that they are going to file a subpoena to compel Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, to sit for a deposition in New York City.
“Where is Philippe Dauman?”, said attorney Pierce O’Donnell of Greenberg Glusker, in a statement. “First Viacom Chairman and majority owner Sumner Redstone disappeared behind black curtains in his house. And now his direct report, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, is dodging our request to take his deposition.” Sources tell Deadline that the subpoena should be filed in the next day or so.
The motion by Redstone’s Loeb & Loeb lawyers in LA Superior Court Monday comes after the traction in the matter the 92 year-old Mogul enjoyed two weeks ago, when L.A. Superior Court Judge David Cowan denied Herzer’s request to depose Redstone on grounds that it would be “an unnecessary invasion of his privacy.” Redstone’s attorneys have based their motion on similar principles, citing California’s health care decisions law which, the motion states, “recognizes that all persons have a right to expect privacy and dignity. It acknowledges that a court is not normally the proper forum for a health care dispute. It is explicit that a determination of a patient’s capacity shall be made by his doctor.”
Though a big fish for Herzer’s lawyers, Dauman plays a very small part in the motion to dismiss of today. Making the CEO, who is also now Redstone’s health care agent, a minor deal now is clearly a move by Gabrielle Vidal and her Loeb & Loeb colleagues to render Dauman beyond the scope of any deposition – a move that O’Donnell and crew clearly want to blunt.
In that vein, the motion to dismiss also blasts what it refers to as “the most personal, salacious allegations” against Redstone, as well as “Ms. Herzer’s disregard” for his privacy. “This proceeding is not just unnecessary; it is abusive and invasive,” it continues later. “Surely the law should not and does not operate to allow (or worse, require) the eldest among us to be dragged through a senseless adversarial proceeding. Respectfully, Mr. Redstone does not want this Court’s intervention, he does not need this Court’s intervention, and he deserves to be left in peace.”
Herzer was a close part of Redstone’s life for many years, living in his residence and apparently in charge of the day to day operations of his household, including those tasked with his round the clock care. She was banned from his house for unspecified reasons in October, and within a month filed the lawsuit now under discussion. Redstone is reportedly worth more than $16 billion, owing to his majority ownership of the National Amusements theater chain which in turn gives him and his family majority ownership of CBS and Viacom.