Sumner Redstone’s granddaughter, Keryn Redstone, is suing him and members of the National Amusements Trust over the dismissals of trustees Philippe Dauman and George Abrams, according to a Tuesday filing in Massachusetts obtained by TheWrap.
The lawsuit is another salvo in the ongoing battle for Sumner’s media empire, which crosses multiple state borders, movie and television divisions, and family lines.
Claiming the 93-year-old NAI chairman “lacked the mental capacity necessary to remove and replace” Dauman and Abrams back in May, the filing seeks to restore the Viacom CEO and lawyer, respectively, to the seven-person NAI board that controls the fate of Viacom and CBS in the event of Sumner’s death.
It also seeks to restore Keryn as a personal trustee within the Grandchildren’s Trusts and her inheritance of $6 million, along with a formal declaration of the ailing Sumner’s insufficient mental capacity to have rescinded the aforementioned or to make future modifications to the trust.
Illustrating the gnarled boundaries marking alliances in this ongoing saga, the crossclaim by Keryn Redstone in favor of Dauman and Abrams is a countersuit to a filing by the pair in May on which she is named a defendant.
The lawsuit repeats a refrain issued by the Dauman-Abrams side for months, which alleges Sumner’s daughter, Shari Redstone, exerted “undue influence” over her father, whose health has been the object of several legal motions since last fall. Tuesday’s filing further accuses Shari of harboring a “longtime vendetta against [her niece] Keryn,” whom the filing claims Shari plans to marginalize or eliminate outright as a beneficiary.
Keryn, 34, has previously maintained that her aunt has blocked her from seeing her grandfather, whose former companion and caretaker, Manuela Herzer, has also played plaintiff and defendant in a number of previous legal actions over Sumner’s competency. Keryn claims she and Herzer were the “two firewalls protecting Sumner from opportunists like Shari,” whom Tuesday’s lawsuit says engineered a coup “to seize control of her father,” calling it a “kidnapping.”
Attorneys for Sumner Redstone declined TheWrap’s request for comment.