Posted: Monday, June 12, 2017 – 5:50 PM
(CNS) – A former live-in companion of Sumner Redstone can proceed with her entire cross-complaint against the 94-year-old media mogul’s daughter, a judge ruled Monday in rejecting defense arguments that two of the six allegations in her lawsuit should be dismissed and some of her damage claims stricken.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Hess ruled there were enough details in Sydney Holland’s claims for intentional interference with contractual relations and inducing breach of contract to remain part of her lawsuit, which also alleges invasion of privacy.
Lawyers for Shari Redstone maintained in their court papers that Holland did not have an enforceable oral agreement with their client’s father and did not provide any facts showing that she interfered with it. They also stated in their court papers that Holland did not have any expectancy damages for her invasion-of-privacy claims outside of probate court, where she could argue that she was wrongfully removed as a beneficiary of the Sumner Redstone trust.
“This is clever pleading to do an end-run around the Probate Code,” Shari Redstone’s attorney, Robert Klieger, told Hess.
Holland’s lawyer, Mark Hoscher, said his client’s case does not belong in probate court because Sumner Redstone is still alive.
“Judge Hess agrees Sydney Holland’s claims against Shari Redstone should go forward,” Holscher said. “This is not a fight that Sydney wanted, but she is going to fight and the court recognizes that she has legitimate claims and that the damages can include half of Sumner Redstone’s liquid assets.”
The assets include the billionaire’s Beverly Park home, Holscher said. Sumner Redstone’s estate is worth about $5 billion and the amount Holland is seeking is only a small fraction of that amount, Holscher said.
In her action filed last December, Holland alleges Redstone’s daughter directed a network of spies in an attempt to oust the plaintiff and another of her father’s former live-in companions, Manuela Herzer, from his mansion in 2015 so Shari Redstone could take control of his media empire.
Sumner Redstone began the litigation when he sued Holland and Herzer last October, claiming elder abuse.
Holland, 45, dated Redstone for five years. She alleges Shari Redstone violated her privacy and induced a breach of contract because Sumner Redstone had previously agreed to provide financial support to Holland and her daughter for the rest of their lives.
Holland was present in court for the hearing before Hess, but Shari Redstone did not attend.
Sumner Redstone was executive chairman of both Viacom and CBS Corp. until stepping down in February 2016.