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Judge grants partial victory to Sumner Redstone's former girlfriend

(Reuters) - A California judge on Monday granted the former girlfriend of Viacom VIAB.O chairman Sumner Redstone a request to conduct depositions of the company's chief executive Philippe Dauman, and two of Redstone's doctors, but not the media mogul himself, for now.

In a hearing Monday afternoon, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Cowan allowed for depositions of Dauman and Redstone’s doctors on medical issues, but held off on allowing a deposition of 92 year-old Redstone until the judge heard from the doctors.

The ruling was the latest in a lawsuit filed in November by Redstone’s former girlfriend Manuela Herzer, who weeks after being removed from Redstone’s Los Angeles home, petitioned to have him examined to see if he was able to make decisions for himself. Herzer also had been replaced by Dauman as Redstone’s healthcare agent.

Investors in Viacom are closely following the suit, which has raised concerns about whether Redstone is capable of continuing as executive chairman of Viacom and CBS CBS.N, both of which he controls.

Cowan’s ruling on Monday was in response to a 200-page motion filed last week by Herzer claiming that a declaration by Dauman about his discussions with Redstone was “riddled with falsehoods,” because Redstone could not speak. Herzer also alleged that Redstone’s signature had been forged on a document filed with the court.

Cowan instructed the attorneys on both sides to prepare talking points for the next hearing on the lawsuit scheduled for February 8th.

Redstone’s attorneys applauded the judge’s decision to hold off on a deposition of Redstone.

“Today’s ruling ensures that Mr. Redstone will be left in peace while the Court hears directly from his doctors that this proceeding is unnecessary,” wrote, Redstone’s attorney, Gabrielle Vidal with Loeb & Loeb, in a statement.

Herzer’s attorneys also claimed victory. “We’re getting a lot of the discovery we want,” said Herzer’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell with Greenberg Glusker.

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