Posted: Monday, July 31, 2017 – 11:26 AM
A judge ruled Monday that lawyers for a former live- in companion of Sumner Redstone must be allowed to depose the billionaire’s grandson by Sept. 6 in order to probe his possible ties to California — evidence pivotal to whether the New York resident should remain a defendant in the woman’s lawsuit.
Herzer was in the courtroom for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Hess’ ruling in her lawsuit against Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone, and her son, Tyler Korff.
Herzer alleges the mother and son conspired with others in the 93-year- old media mogul’s circle to interfere with her expected inheritance and invade her privacy.
In their court papers, attorneys for Korff say he is a New York resident and California courts have no jurisdiction over him absent any facts he conspired with others to keep Herzer from receiving the money she hoped to inherit from Redstone, evidence which the attorneys say does not exist.
But Hess ruled in May that Herzer’s lawyers can go to New York to question Korff about how often he comes to California. Monday’s hearing addressed complaints by Herzer’s lawyers who claimed that tactical legal maneuvers by Korff’s lawyers have prevented the deposition from taking place.
Hess said the two sides must discuss any disagreements they have over information-sharing in the case and file a joint statement by Aug. 9, ahead of a hearing on Aug. 16. The judge said he preferred the lawyers met face-to-face, but he could not order them to do so.
Hess questioned why the attorneys had not already resolved some of the discovery issues before now and whether Korff’s lawyers were simply making objections and not providing Herzer’s attorneys areas in which the two sides could agree.
“All I heard you say was that it was their burden,” Hess told Korff’s lawyers.
Hess also questioned why Korff’s lawyers filed a dismissal motion months in the future and before their motion to quash was heard.
But Korff’s lead attorney, Vivian Thoreen, said that when the two sides met, Herzer’s lawyers criticized their efforts and asked for the exact opposite of what they said they wanted. She said the dismissal motion, which cites First Amendment grounds for dismissal, was set as soon as the court calendar allowed.
Thoreen said there was no basis to file the dismissal motion earlier because the issues that justify it did not exist until May 30, when Herzer’s lawyers filed a second revised complaint.
Herzer’s attorney, Ronald Richards, said it was important that Korff, who is Jewish, be deposed before the Jewish high holidays begin in late September. Thoreen said Korff observes Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Hess set the motion to quash the subpoena on Korff for Sept. 29 and the dismissal motion for October.
Herzer’s lawsuit asserts that Shari Redstone got the nurses serving her father at his mansion to turn him against Herzer, who was forced to move out of the billionaire’s Los Angeles home.
In her complaint filed in May 2016, Herzer is seeking at least $70 million in damages from all the defendants, who also include Shari Redstone’s other son, Brandon Korff; Redstone’s house manager/driver; and several nurses.
Redstone kicked another former girlfriend, Sydney Holland, out of his home in September 2015 after accusing her of cheating on him. A month later, he evicted Herzer and revoked her ability to make health care decisions on his behalf.
Herzer later filed a petition asking a judge to find that Redstone lacked the mental capacity to remove her as his health care agent, but her case was dismissed in May 2016 after one day of trial testimony. She then filed her lawsuit against Shari Redstone and Korff.
Redstone was executive chairman of both Viacom and CBS Corp. until stepping down in February 2016.