The Montage Beverly Hills hotel has been sued by relatives of a West Hollywood man struck and killed in 2015 by two drivers who had been drinking alcohol earlier at the upscale Canon Drive establishment.
Eliezer Malahi, 58, of West Hollywood was killed about 10:55 p.m. Aug. 25, 2015, after getting out of his car in the 300 block of North Crescent Drive, according to Beverly Hills police. Officers called to the scene found him lying unconscious in the road and started CPR until paramedics arrived, but he was later pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.
The plaintiffs in the L.A. Superior Court wrongful death/negligence lawsuit filed Wednesday are Malahi’s widow, Marie Elissa Malahi; his son, 20-year-old Matan Anel Malahi; and the couple’s 11-year-old daughter. The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages.
Also named as defendants in the complaint are Sue Young Sohn, 48, of Irvine, and the estate of the late Tony Sun Jae Jung of Santa Clarita, who was 45 at the time of the incident.
Sohn was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in October 2015 as she waited to board a flight to Seoul, South Korea, after buying a one-way ticket there the previous day, police said. The lawsuit does not state how or when Jung died.
Sohn was charged in 2015 with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit and run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person, driving with a suspended or revoked privilege because of a DUI conviction and driving with a privilege that was suspended or revoked due to a failed blood alcohol test.
On June 12, she pleaded no contest to a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and was sentenced in Airport Superior Court to 15 years to life in prison.
According to the lawsuit, the hotel served the equivalent of three bottles of wine to Jung and Sohn and most of it was consumed by the 140-pound Jung.
A hotel employee told the valet manager that Sohn drank a lot of alcohol, the suit states. She was later seen stumbling and heard slurring her speech, so her car was not released to her, the suit states. She was offered a taxi, but declined, the suit states.
Some 20 to 30 minutes later, Jung asked the valet staff for the keys, the suit states. Even though he had been dining with Sohn and drank more wine than her, he was given the keys to Sohn’s car and the two drove off with Sohn in the passenger seat, the suit states.
About 150 feet from the hotel, Jung got out of the driver’s seat and turned the car over to Sohn, the suit states. Jung got into another car parked nearby and the two drove away, the suit states.
About a half-mile away, Sohn’s car struck Malahi, then immediately thereafter Jung’s vehicle did the same, according to the lawsuit.
The hotel valet staff violated its obligation to ensure that the intoxicated Sohn and Jung would not be allowed to drive away in her car, the suit states.