Kobe Bryant’s family settles lawsuit over accident photos for $28.5 million

The family of the late Kobe Bryant has agreed to a US$28.5 million settlement with Los Angeles County to resolve remaining claims in a lawsuit against deputies and firefighters who shared gruesome photos of the NBA star, his 13-year-old daughter and others of victims killed. in a helicopter crash in 2020, attorneys and court filings said Tuesday.

The figure includes a newly agreed-upon $13.5 million payment from the county along with the $15 million a federal jury awarded Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, in a lawsuit in August.

The settlement resolves any future claims by Bryant’s three surviving daughters, related matters pending in state court and other costs. A proposed settlement order, which a judge must approve, was filed Tuesday in federal court.

“Today marks the successful culmination of Ms. Bryant’s courageous fight to hold accountable those who engaged in this tragic behavior,” Bryant’s attorney, Louis Lee, said in a statement. “She fought for her husband, her daughter and all those in the community whose bereaved family was treated with similar disrespect.”

Mira Hashmall, the attorney representing Los Angeles County, called the statement “fair and reasonable,” adding, “We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss.”

Kobe Bryant, the former Lakers star, five-time NBA champion and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, was traveling with Gianna and seven others to a youth basketball game when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed into the hills of Calabasas west of Los Angeles . January 26, 2020.

Deputies and firefighters who responded to the crash scene took phone pictures of the bodies and debris, which Hasmal argued at trial were an essential part of assessing the situation.

But the photos were shared, mostly among employees of the county sheriff’s and fire departments, including some who were playing video games and attending an awards banquet. They were also seen by some of their husbands and in one case by a bartender at a bar where an MP was drinking.

Vanessa Bryant, center, leaves federal court with her daughter Natalia, left, and soccer player Sydney Leroux in Los Angeles. (Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press)

Lee told jurors that the close-up photos had no official or investigative purpose and were simply “visual gossip” shared out of morbid curiosity.

Hasmal argued that the sheriff acted quickly and appropriately in ordering the deletion of the photos.

Vanessa Bryant tearfully testified during the 11-day trial that news of the photos compounded her grief a month after losing her husband and daughter and that she still has panic attacks at the thought that he might still be out there and her daughters. may someday see them online.

The verdict in her favor was incorrectly read as $16 million in court, but was later amended to $15 million.

Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the crash itself.

Chris Chester, Vanessa Bryant’s co-defendant in the lawsuit, also received $15 million in monetary damages in the trial and reached his own settlement with the county in September for nearly $5 million more.

WATCH l Vanessa Bryant’s tribute to Kobe, Gianna:

Vanessa Bryant tribute to Kobe, Gianna

Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa honors husband and daughter Gianna during celebration of life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *