Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has asked a court in Massachusetts to have his long-time boss Sumner Redstone’s mental condition examined immediately.
Redstone and Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone have been battling with Dauman over control of Viacom and the rest of Redstone’s media empire, which includes CBS.
Redstone moved to remove Dauman and other Viacom board members as directors of National Amusements, the Redstone family holding company, trustees of the trust that will oversee the Redstone assets when the ailing 93-yearold dies, and as directors of Viacom.
Dauman and the other Viacom directors have contested Redstone’s actions in courts in Massachusetts and Delaware. Among their claims are that Redstone has been under the undue influence of his daughter Shari.
According to a motion filed by Dauman and George Abrams Thursday in Massachusetts, “Redstone’s mental condition is the central issue in this litigation,” which aims to have their removal from the National Amusements board and the Redstone trust invalidated.
They say an examination must be made immediately because if there is a long delay, evidence of Redstone’s condition on May 20, when the decision to remove the directors was made, will be lost.
They also argue that events based on decisions being made on “the incredible suggestion that the 93-year-old Mr. Redstone is of sound mind and [acting] free of influence” are unfolding quickly and could become irreversible.
The motion also seeks access to all of Redstone’s medical records.
A hearing is set for June 30.
On Wednesday, a judge in Delaware overseeing whether the replacement of Viacom directors by Redstone was valid, said Redstone’s status was important, but that he would let the Massachusetts and California cases take first crack at determining whether or not he’s competent.
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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