A California judge ruled Friday that Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom, will be examined by a psychiatrist hired by Manuela Herzer, Redstone’s former companion, according to media reports. Herzer has challenged Redstone’s mental capacity in a lawsuit against her removal as the media mogul’s healthcare agent in October 2015.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David J. Cowan ruled that Dr. Stephen Read, a psychiatrist selected by Herzer and her attorneys, will be allowed to conduct an hour-long examination of the ailing 92-year-old Redstone, the Los Angeles Times reported. Judge Cowan said the examination could not be videotaped, and that Redstone’s speech pathologist and nurse can be present during the examination. Two doctors who treat Redstone have already testified in the case, according to the LA Times.
“We are gratified that Judge Cowan struck an equitable balance that assures our client has a fair opportunity to prove that her beloved Sumner was not competent when the attorneys had him remove her as his health caregiver,” Herzer's attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, said in a statement cited by the LA Times.
The judge also wrote in his order that on the same day Redstone removed Herzer as his healthcare agent, he also “allegedly revoked that part of his estate plan whereby he had previously left a very significant sum of money to Herzer,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Herzer has testified that she is concerned about Redstone’s health and medical care, the LA Times reported.
Judge Cowan also denied a request from Herzer and her lawyers that Redstone provide sworn testimony in a deposition.
“We are gratified that the Court continues to reject Ms. Herzer’s increasingly desperate and disingenuous attempts to depose Mr. Redstone,” Gabrielle Vidal, Redstone’s attorney, said in a statement cited by the Journal.
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman replaced Herzer as Redstone’s healthcare agent. Viacom has maintained that Redstone remains engaged despite being physically disabled and having difficulty speaking, the Journal reported.