$18.8 Million Settlement Reached For Traffic Killing Of Monique Muñoz; Driver’s Father Faces Criminal Charge
The parents of Monique Muñoz, who was killed in 2021 by a speeding teen driver in West Los Angeles, will receive more than $18 million in a wrongful death settlement — and could receive more than $25 million in total.
“The money will never bring back their daughter,” said Daniel Ghyczy, the lead attorney representing the victim’s parents. “Their focus has been trying to prevent something like this from ever happening to someone else — and to make sure that someone else doesn't get that call that their child had been killed because of a senseless act of negligence.”
In the lawsuit, Ghyczy and his team highlighted a pattern of high-speed, dangerous driving by the teen’s father, millionaire entrepreneur James Khuri. Along with displaying that behavior for his son Brendan to see, Khuri also gifted his son the Lamborghini SUV that he later crashed into Muñoz’s car, killing her.
Screenshots of social media posts (many of which have been deleted) show the elder Khuri driving his own sports car in excess of 100 mph, and video, allegedly shot by his son, shows Khuri engaged in high-speed, illegal street races. Khuri’s public Instagram features multiple posts of him with his sports cars.
And despite knowing his son was driving the SUV recklessly, Khuri allowed his son to continue driving, which Ghyczy’s team said demonstrated “despicable conduct in conscious disregard of the rights of others,” including Muñoz.
The crash happened on Feb. 17, 2021 when Muñoz, 32, was driving home from work at UCLA Health and attempted to make an unprotected left-turn south onto Overland Avenue from westbound Olympic Boulevard.
Brendan Khuri was driving over 100 mph eastbound on Olympic, prosecutors later said at his trial. He entered the intersection as Muñoz was completing her turn, smashing into her car. Police officials believe Muñoz died almost instantly.
One LAPD detective initially described the scene to LAist as almost "complete devastation" and "among the worst aftermath of a traffic collision that I've seen."
Investigators previously told LAist the teen was charged in part because he’d been cited previously for reckless driving.
'They Do Nothing To Stop This From Happening'
In the lawsuit, Ghyczy and his team said James Khuri, along with Brendan Khuri’s mother, Christine Khuri, and stepfather, Richard Roderick, were fully aware of the teen’s pattern of dangerous driving, but “created an environment that further encouraged this behavior.”
“Not only did they do nothing to stop this from happening, they took steps which led to this happening,” Ghyczy told LAist.
He said the SUV that the teen crashed into Monique Muñoz’s car had been impounded by Beverly Hills police a few months earlier due to the teen’s reckless driving. Tow records obtained by Ghyczy’s law firm show James Khuri got the car back within 48 hours.
“It's not just ‘kids will be kids,’” Ghyczy said. “It's obvious that James Khuri knew what [his son] was doing.”
So far, no restitution has been paid by the Khuri family.
“They had refused all requests to contribute personally towards the settlement,” Ghyczy told LAist. “My clients were not looking for money, so they felt it was most important to be able to put this behind them to obtain 100% of what was available from the insurance companies in the civil matter.”
The $18.85 million payout will come from the insurance companies the teen driver was covered under at the time of the fatal crash. The plaintiffs’ attorneys state that Brendan Khuri “was engaged in a business errand for the direct or indirect benefit” of Lockton Partners, LLC, which specialized in risk consulting and commercial insurance brokerage.
“The insurance companies were saying that Monique Muñoz’s life was not worth 100% of what was available for insurance coverage,” said Ghyczy. “It wasn't about establishing worth, it's about sending a message that just because Monique Muñoz was Hispanic… and just because Brendan Khuri was affluent from Beverly Hills, there was no discount that was going to be accepted.”
There is still a criminal restitution component to be decided in the case. Ghyczy explained Brendan Khuri may be required to personally pay restitution following a hearing expected this June or July.
He said Muñoz's parents feels their claims against James Khuri are further validated by the fact that he is currently facing a misdemeanor charge for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
An arrest warrant was initially issued for Khuri on Feb. 16 this year, but was recalled the following day when he appeared in court, according to Ricardo Santiago from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. James Khuri’s arraignment has been set for June 8.