A lawsuit debating the mental competency of media billionaire Sumner Redstone has been dismissed on Monday.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Cowan ruled the trial would not proceed, after hinting Friday he was inclined to honor the 92-year-old’s wishes to remove former girlfriend Manuela Herzer as his caretaker.
“The court has now heard directly from Redstone that he has lost trust in Herzer, does not want her in his life and instead wants his daughter Shari to look after him,” Cowan’s decision read.
“Redstone is presumed to have capacity and Herzer’s expert did not establish that he lacked capacity,” he continued. “Redstone is free to make this decision for whatever reason, even if for a poorly thought out or erroneous reason.”
The court dismissed the suit with prejudice, meaning Herzer cannot refile with new evidence. The court maintained that it has no business interfering with his wishes, citing Redstone’s further claims that he’s satisfied being cared for by his daughter.
“I am grateful to the court for putting an end to this long ordeal,” Shari Redstone said in a statement following the ruling. “I am so happy for my father that he can now live his life in peace, surrounded by his friends and family.”
Herzer filed her suit in November, claiming that Redstone was not of sound mind and fell victim to undue influence from daughter Shari — who in October had effectively removed Herzer as an authority on Redstone’s medical care.
Last week, Judge Cowan heard testimony from experts tapped by Herzer’s legal team who claimed Redstone’s mental health was “severely compromised,” and that he exhibited “features of dementia.”
Despite Herzer’s claims that Shari Redstone wielded undue influence over her father to cut Herzer out of the mogul’s life, a pre-taped deposition from the billionaire himself was damning for his former girlfriend. He labelled his former lover interest a “fucking bitch” and expressed a strong desire to have her out of his life, though little else from the testimony was coherent.
During opening statements Friday, Herzer’s attorney Pierce O’Donnell told the court that Redstone and Herzer had enjoyed a “modern-day love story” until their “love was sabotaged.”
“Sumner firmly believes he was betrayed. Without any explanation or confrontation without any farewell. Forever,” O’Donnell said. “Manuela is devastated and inconsolable Her soulmate has been ripped out of her life.”
Redstone’s attorney Robert Klieger, meanwhile, contended that Redstone willfully ousted Herzer in October when she conspired to deceive him.
“Mr. Redstone does not tolerate lies. He will not stay with people who lie to him,” Klieger said.
Redstone, the former chairman of Viacom and CBS, turns 93 on May 27. He’ll remain under the care of his daughter.