A new level of drama and yet another lawsuit has been added to the ongoing legal circus that surrounds 93-year-old media mogul Sumner Redstone.
Redstone's ex companion Manuela Herzer has fired her primary lawyer, Pierce O'Donnell of Greenberg Glusker, and is suing him for breach of fiduciary duty. Herzer's other attorney Ronald Richards claims the firm convinced her to front $500,000 for Keryn Redstone's legal fees. The mogul's granddaughter failed in a bid to join Herzer's suit, and later piled on to one brought by ousted Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman.
O'Donnell tells The Hollywood Reporter the claims are baseless.
"The lawsuit has no basis in fact and the money was appropriately used," O'Donnell says. "This is a matter to be resolved by Manuela and others, not by my law firm or me. We expect the case will be promptly dismissed. Nevertheless, I wish Manuela well."
Sources close to the situation say this stems from Herzer being upset because she was denied access to Redstone while his granddaughter Keryn was given access. Redstone's attorney Robert Klieger told a judge in August that he had convinced his client to have a face-to-face meeting with his granddaughter. That "difficult and emotional" meeting was apparently enough for the two to reconcile, or at least resolve their legal fight, according to Bloomberg.
The litigation surrounding Redstone and whether he's mentally capable of making important business and personal decisions began nearly a year ago, when Herzer was kicked out of his Beverly Park mansion and removed from his health care directive. She sued, claiming Redstone was being unduly influenced by those in his inner circle - especially his daughter Shari.
An arbitration clause in Herzer's agreement with Greenberg Glusker means this latest fight will most likely play out behind closed doors. Herzer is also currently appealing her suit to regain control of Redstone's health care, after a judge dismissed it mid-trial in May, and is suing Shari Redstone, her sons and several members of the mogul's household staff in a $100 million spying lawsuit.