This morning Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese ordered that Tom Benson must be evaluated by three separate physicians in the ongoing battle for control of his business empire. Of particular interest to New Orleanians is the control of both the New Orleans Pelicans and Saints. From the New Orleans Advocate.
After a hearing of about 90 minutes on Tuesday morning, Reese decided that Benson will have to undergo the evaluation after all if he wants to kill the lawsuit challenging his new succession plans, which call for eventually handing control of his sports franchises to his wife Gayle.
Reese did reject the particular evaluation called for by psychiatrist Ted Bloch III, who was proposed by Benson’s estranged relatives. The judge said that exam would be too invasive.
Instead, Reese said that Benson would undergo a standard exam used in these types of cases. Bloch and two other physicians — one chosen by Benson’s lawyers and another chosen jointly by that doctor and Bloch — will have until March 13 to complete their reports. The three-physician team must be assembled by Feb. 25, Reese said.
This is not the result Tom Benson's legal team was looking for; they had initially hoped a meeting with the judge himself in private could satisfy any concerns over his competency. However, this is not a full scale win for his daughter Renee or grand children Rita and Ryan LeBlanc, either.
The time table for a decision to be handed down appears to be in mid spring. Up to this point things have actually moved quite quickly in the legal realm. It will most benefit the Pelicans long term plans, especially the upcoming extension for Anthony Davis, if the ownership succession question can be answered before July 1st. Hopefully this process will continue at its current pace.