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Mental Capacity: A Double-Edged Sword (Cont.)

December 2, 2016

In early June, we published an article outlining the legal case of Mr. Redstone, age 93, who owns about 80 percent of CBS and Viacom—reportedly a $40 billion media empire. In that article, we described how mental capacity claims can be a double-edged sword, with contradicting claims being made by his business partner, Mr. Dauman, just months after he was removed as a trustee at the “urging” of Mr. Redstone’s daughter.

The New Elder Abuse Lawsuit

The story has progressed, with Redstone filing an elder abuse lawsuit against Manuela Herzer and Sydney Holland, two “companions,” seeking to reclaim $150 million in gifts he had given them.

This Suit Claims

After Redstone was hospitalized that fall, his daughter Shari was concerned about her father’s well-being and met with one of his home nurses, Joseph Octaviano. He informed her of the emotional abuse he had witnessed at the hands of Herzer and Holland while Mr. Redstone was in his care. He agreed to keep her informed of what was happening within the house – spurring a $100 million “spying” lawsuit by Herzer.

The Case

Redstone is suing for elder abuse, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and at least $150 million in damages.

Herzer’s attorney, Ronald Richards, says Redstone has given numerous other women millions in gifts and property over the years and this lawsuit is nothing more than Shari Redstone continuing to manipulate her father.

The Concern

In cases involving mental capacity, it’s often difficult to discern the truth. Even if Mr. Redstone receives additional geriatric psychiatry examinations, it may never be clear whether Herzer and Holland were taking advantage of Mr. Redstone or if he gave the gifts willing.

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