We have a blockbuster of a battle here in Norfolk county over billionaire Sumner Redstone's mental capacity. Redstone, the owner of National Amusements, Viacom, Paramount Pictures, and CBS Corp., has been involved in various legal disputes with multiple family members for years. This latest suit was filed by Viacom's chief executive, Phillippe Dauman, and director, George Abrams. Dauman and Abrams are alleging that Redstone lacked mental capacity when Redstone decided to remove them as trustees of his National Amusement Trust, a trust which controls 80% of Viacom's stock shares. Dauman and Abrams further allege that Redstone's daughter, Shari, is the mastermind behind all of this and is using her father's age as a way to manipulate him, control all of his business-making decisions and keep him away from trusted advisors that Redstone has had for years. It is alleged that this is Shari's power play to take control of her father's companies.
Judge George Phelan heard the case in the Norfolk County Probate and Family Court in late June. Redstone's attorneys tried to remove the case to California, Redstone's current residence, but Phelan ruled that he would continue to preside over the lawsuit. This caused Redstone to file suits in both Delaware and California to affirm his decision removing both Dauman and Abrams.
Although Judge Phelan denied an immediate request for a mental examination of Redstone, he will retain jurisdiction of this case for now. What will come in the months ahead is anybody's guess.
Now, one can only hope that Redstone has a solid estate plan and an excellent power of attorney! It's up to you to make sure that your final wishes are final. Contact us today to be sure that your estate plan is solid.