Officials of Redstone's National Amusements allege in a Delaware Chancery Court filing that "relevant evidence has already been destroyed" through CBS executives' use of TigerText, an iPhone application that can delete messages immediately after being read.
CBS said in a statement it used TigerText for "cybersecurity reasons following the Sony Corp. hack." The communication software "was not developed or used for any nefarious or sinister communications as some have alleged," the company said.
The unsealed filing is the latest twist in the clash between Les Moonves, CBS's chief executive officer, and Shari Redstone, president of the dominant shareholder NAI, over Moonves's move to strip the family of its control of America's No. 1 prime-time TV network. The Redstone family owns controlling interests in both CBS and Viacom.
A trial is set for Oct. 3 in Wilmington over whether the CBS board had the power to approve a dilution plan that reduced the Redstones' voting control of the media company to 17% from 79%.
While gathering information for the trial, NAI officials said they learned CBS's senior management and its in-house lawyers had been using TigerText for business communications since November 2015, according to the filing. They used it while still using their regular CBS accounts for other communications, NAI says.
TigerText app allows the sender to set an expiration time for a text, giving the user the ability to have it deleted upon reading. It prevents the receiver from forwarding or storing the text message, which makes it a good app for cheating spouses, according to an 2010 Time magazine article.
NAI wants Judge Andre Bouchard to order CBS officials to preserve electronic devices used to send and receive the texts and related documents. The Redstones want access to that information to prepare for the trial, according to the filing.