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By Jason Carrozza

Hi Everyone,

Happy Wednesday!!!

We have a blockbuster of a battle here in Norfolk county over billionaire Sumner Redstone’s mental capacity. Redstone, the owner of National Amusements, Viacom, Paramount Pictures, and CBS Corp., has been involved in various legal disputes with multiple family members for years. This latest suit was filed by Viacom’s chief executive, Phillippe Dauman, and director, George Abrams. Dauman and Abrams are alleging that Redstone lacked mental capacity when Redstone decided to remove them as trustees of his National Amusement Trust, a trust which controls 80% of Viacom’s stock shares. Dauman and Abrams further allege that Redstone’s daughter, Shari, is the mastermind behind all of this and is using her father’s age as a way to manipulate him, control all of his business-making decisions and keep him away from trusted advisors that Redstone has had for years. It is alleged that this is Shari’s power play to take control of her father’s companies.

Judge George Phelan heard the case in the Norfolk County Probate and Family Court in late June. Redstone’s attorneys tried to remove the case to California, Redstone’s current residence, but Phelan ruled that he would continue to preside over the lawsuit. This caused Redstone to file suits in both Delaware and California to affirm his decision removing both Dauman and Abrams.

Although Judge Phelan denied an immediate request for a mental examination of Redstone, he will retain jurisdiction of this case for now. What will come in the months ahead is anybody’s guess.

Now, one can only hope that Redstone has a solid estate plan and an excellent power of attorney! It’s up to you to make sure that your final wishes are final. Contact us today to be sure that your estate plan is solid.

Until next time,

About the Author
Jason M. Carrozza is a partner and founder of Family Legal Partners, P.C., previously owning Carrozza Law Office, P.C., which focused on estate planning, probate administration, and business formation. He was recognized as a Massachusetts Rising Star by New England Super Lawyers and Boston Magazine in 2014, 2015, and 2016, an honor given to no more than 5% of attorneys in the state. Graduating magna cum laude from New England Law and ranked 3rd in his class, Jason completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa. He gained experience in civil litigation, divorce, corporate, and insurance defense law firms before opening his practice in 2004. Jason is admitted to practice before the Massachusetts Courts, is a trained family law mediator, and a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. He has volunteered for pro bono panels with Senior Partners For Justice, South Middlesex Legal Services, and the New Center for Legal Advocacy. Dedicated to his community, he has served in various leadership roles including vice president of the Bellingham Business Association and Master of Excelsior Lodge of Massachusetts Freemasons. He teaches Estate Planning Basics at the Tri County Continuing Adult Education program and speaks at estate planning seminars throughout the year. An avid baseball fan and history enthusiast, Jason enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his family. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Zachary and Madelyn.