Saints, Pelicans owner ordered by judge to have physical, mental exams

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson sits on the sideline with wife Gayle Benson before a game against the Green Bay Packers in October.
(Bill Haber / Associated Press)

The 87-year-old owner of the NFL and NBA franchises in New Orleans must be examined by three physicians to help determine his physical and mental state, a New Orleans judge ruled on Tuesday.

Tom Benson’s daughter, Renee, has filed a lawsuit with her children, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc, to have her father declared incapable of handling his affairs. The suit was filed last month after the trio was removed from Benson’s succession plans for the Saints and Pelicans.

According to his lawyers, Benson made a “deliberate, reasoned” decision to eventually leave his wife of 10 years, Gayle Benson, in control of the teams. Benson’s attorney, Phillip Wittmann, said they will “probably accept” the judge’s ruling but could still opt for a review from a state appeals court.

“I don’t think the assessment’s going to show anything I haven’t already said,” Wittmann said. “Mr. Benson’s fully capable of managing his own affairs.”

Randall Smith, attorney for Renee Benson and her children, said in court that an examination would “cut to the chase” in determining whether Benson could handle his own affairs. After the ruling, Smith said he was “delighted” with the outcome.


No members of the Benson family were present Tuesday for the hearing.

Twitter: @chewkiii