Viacom Hit With Wrongful Death Suit Over DUI By Ex-‘Lights Out With David Spade’ Accountant

A fatal crash last month on Melrose has now entangled the media giant in a heartbreaking tale of loss for one family Comedy Central/Viacom

Jacob Gralitzer is already looking at up to a decade behind bars if found guilty for the killing of Noah Benardout last month. Now the parents of the deceased pedestrian are taking the industry accountant, the producers of Lights Out with David Spade and Viacom to California court for wrongful death.

In an often-raw civil case complaint filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, Marie and Marc Benardout are targeting the Comedy Central owner, Free 90 Media and others for Gralitzer allegedly getting blitzed on August 1 at the premiere party for the SNL alum’s new show and then getting behind the wheel of his 2018 Infiniti.

“Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that Defendant Viacom and Free 90 and DOES 1-10 permitted Defendant Gralitzer to get even more intoxicated before leaving the premises,” the unspecified but wide-ranging damages seeking complaint declares (read it here). “Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that this intoxication occurred during the scope of Gralitzer’s employment with Defendant Viacom and Free 90 and DOES 1-10,” adds the three-claim jury seeking filing Tuesday by the firm of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP for the elder Benardouts.

“Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege Defendants Viacom, Free 90, and DOES 1-10 condoned Gralitzer getting severely intoxicated at the Lights Out party. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege Defendants Viacom Free 90, and DOES 1-10 knew that Gralitzer was going to drive his car home from the party but did nothing to stop it.”

Whether that last part is actually the case or not, soon after leaving the shindig for employees of the Spade show at LA’s Nightingale Plaza at around 10:30 PM that night, Gralitizer’s car smashed into the vehicle of Lawrence Goldsmith as the latter was making a left turn at Melrose and Martel Avenue. “The collision caused the Acura (Goldsmith’s) to careen onto the sidewalk at the southeast corner of the intersection of Melrose and Martel striking Noah Benardout while he was standing on the sidewalk,” the 16-page complaint details, with Goldsmith also named as a defendant.

“As a result of Defendants’ malicious, despicable, gross negligence and negligent actions, Decedent Noah Benardout sustained major blunt force trauma to his head, eventually leading to his death.”

Gralitzer stayed at the scene of the crash that early August night and was arrested by LAPD. No longer working for the Comedy Central talk show, the assistant accountant was eventually charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence. If found guilty, Gralitzer could get from four to 10 years in California state prison, a $10,000 fine and further DUI penalties.

Contacted by Deadline, Viacom representatives had no comment on today’s heartbreaking filing.

As the Bob Bakish-run company prepares to reunite with CBS corporately, the deceased’s parents didn’t name a number, but itemized “non-economic damages suffered by Plaintiffs, including, but not limited to, loss of love, affection, care, society, service, comfort, support, right to support, companionship, solace or moral support, expectations of future support and counseling, other benefits and assistance of Decedent Noah Benardout in an amount in excess of the jurisdictional minimum, according to proof,” today’s paperwork said. With the loss of their 24-year old son, the elder Benardouts are also seeking “economic damages suffered by Plaintiffs, related to loss of earnings and loss of financial support from Decedent Noah Benardout, according to proof.”

Slotted after The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, the acerbically Hollywood centric Lights Out debuted on July 29.

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