Viacom battle takes new turn with Dauman lawsuit

Philippe Dauman

Philippe Dauman

The increasingly bitter battle between Philippe Dauman and Sumner Redstone has taken a new turn with Viacom CEO Dauman issuing a lawsuit in an attempt to reverse a decision to removed him from a Redstone family trust.

Dauman issued a lawsuit yesterday, alleging Shari Redstone, Sumner’s daughter, removed him from the trust illegally and that Sumner is not capable of making that decision given his current mental capacity. He, along with Viacom board member George Abrams, are seeking to be reinstated to the trust.

Redstone is no longer chairman of Viacom or CBS, but remains at the helm of National Amusements, which controls both.

Sumner Redstone’s lawyers and representatives of Shari Redstone have reacted angrily to Dauman’s attempts to resist being ousted from the trust.

Sumner Redstone’s legal team have asked a Los Angeles court for an order that will “confirm the validity of his actions in removing and appointing trustees”. They added that Redstone’s right to choose the trust members can only be overturned if a court, or panel of doctors, judges he is not competent to do so.

“Mr Redstone has been clear and unequivocal in his desire to remove Philippe Dauman and George Abrams as trustees,” said his lawyer Robert N Klieger.  “This dispute is not about Shari Redstone.  It is about Mr Redstone’s right to have the individuals he wants and trusts managing his assets upon his death, and protecting the financial interests of his grandchildren.”

Shari Redstone’s representatives issued a separate statement.

“It is absurd for anyone to accuse Shari of manipulating her father or controlling what goes on in his household,” it said. “Sumner makes his own decisions regarding whom he wants to see both in his home and elsewhere, and he has his own team of independent advisors to counsel him on corporate and other matters. As to the idea that Shari, an attorney and respected businesswoman, would ‘unlawfully’ use his name, that is utterly ridiculous.”

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