A New Orleans civil district court judge has ruled that New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson will be required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after members of Benson's family filed a lawsuit against the owner, according to ESPN.
By March 13, Benson must be evaluated by a trio of physicians, one chosen by each side and one agreed upon by the first two doctors. In a statement, Benson said he "looks forward to taking the test" and said the lawsuit challenging his competency and ability to manage assets "has only strengthened my resolve to defend what I have built over the last fifty plus years."
Benson’s daughter, Renee, and her children Rita and Ryan LeBlanc filed a lawsuit last month claiming Benson is not fit to continue running both franchises or any of his businesses, which also includes several car dealerships and the city's Fox affiliate.
On Monday, a Texas probate judge ruled that Benson is "confronting tremendous pressures" concerning his family's battle over his wealth and needs help in managing his assets.
Bexar County Probate Judge Tom Rickhoff said that it is clear that Benson is facing the scrutiny of the media, "overreaching expectations of sports fans," and a dispute over his assets.
"Even this revered trustee is mortal and no court should be complicit in allowing him more than he can bear if a reasonable and safe alternative is found to 'assist' him,” Rickhoff said in his ruling, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The lawsuit came after Benson announced that his wife of 10 years, Gayle, would take ownership of the teams after he dies, with Benson saying he made a "deliberate, reasoned and difficult decision" when he decided on the future of his businesses. He calls the lawsuit filed by his daughter and grandchildren “completely meritless."
Forbes has estimated Benson's net worth at $1.8 billion.
The 87-year-old Benson has owned the Saints for the past 30 years and bought the Pelicans in 2012 from the NBA.
- Scooby Axson