Panish | Shea |Boyle | Ravipudi LLP has obtained a $200 million judgment for the parents of Noah Benardout, a 24-year-old musician who was tragically struck and killed by a vehicle following a collision caused by a drunk driver. The landmark judgment, signed on March 3, 2023 on what was scheduled to be the first day of trial, includes $100 million in past and future wrongful death damages for Noah’s father, and $100 million in past and future wrongful death damages for Noah’s mother. The Parties reached an agreement regarding the judgment of which the terms of payment remain confidential.
Plaintiffs Marc and Marie Benardout are represented in the matter by Spencer Lucas, Marguerite Sanvictores, and Alec Clark.
“In an instant, one drunk man behind the wheel robbed the Benardout family of their son, their brother, and their best friend — there is no amount of money that will make them feel whole again,” said Mr. Lucas. “We are honored to have stood beside Marc, Marie, and Lily in seeking justice for Noah and we are incredibly proud of the work they have done, and continue to do, to raise awareness and bring change to end the tragedies of drunk and drugged driving.”
On August 1, 2019, Defendant Jacob D. Gralitzer was attending a ViacomCBS employee premiere party for the now-cancelled Comedy Central late night talk show Lights Out With David Spade. As alleged in the complaint, Defendant Gralitzer became intoxicated at the party and then proceeded to get behind the wheel of an Infiniti Q60S and drove through the streets of West Hollywood at recklessly high speeds. As Gralitzer traveled eastbound on Melrose Avenue, he violently collided with the driver of an Acura MDX traveling westbound on Melrose and making a left turn onto Martel Avenue. The intense impact of the collision caused the Acura MDX to careen onto the southwest corner of the intersection of Melrose and Martel, striking pedestrian Noah Benardout while he was standing on the sidewalk. Noah sustained major blunt force trauma to his head and died as a result of his injuries.
Following the collision, Defendant Gralitzer was criminally charged and pled no contest to felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. On February 1, 2022, he was sentenced to four (4) years in state prison – yet he served just six (6) weeks in Los Angeles County jail followed by seven (7) weeks in North Kern County Prison. On May 3, 2022, Gralitzer was transferred to a Male Community Reentry Program location where he will serve less than one-third of his sentence before being released later this month, due to his classification by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as a nonviolent offender.