Vanessa Bryant has reached a settlement with Los Angeles County over the sharing of disturbing photographs from the January 2020 helicopter accident that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, their daughter Gianna, and seven other individuals.
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According to Bryant’s lawyer Luis Li, the county has agreed to pay more than $28 million to Bryant and her three daughters, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, including the $15 million granted by a jury in the summer of 2020. Christopher Chester, Bryant’s co-plaintiff, has also been granted $15 million. According to a statement given to ET by Li, the Bryant family’s quest for justice for Kobe, Gianna, and the other victims of the terrible tragedy has come to an end.
“Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct,” the statement noted. “She fought for her husband, her daughter, and all those in the community whose deceased family were treated with similar disrespect. We hope her victory at trial and this settlement will put an end to this practice.”
Vanessa Bryant Settles Lawsuit Over Helicopter Crash Photos
After learning that several employees of La County’s fire and Sheriff’s Department had shared graphic photos of human remains from the crash, she went on to sue for negligence and invasion of privacy back in September 2020, winning at trial in August 2022. The jury in August awarded Bryant $16 million, which was then later reduced by $1 million due to clerical error.
According to documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to pay the family $28.5 million in order to settle the lawsuit and potential future claims that were made by the family.
Through a statement, Mira Hashmall, lead counsel for the LA county in the Bryant-Chester case, stated that the settlement was reasonable and fair, saying that she hopes the family can “ continue to heal from their loss” now that legal proceedings are through.
“We believe the settlement approved by the Board in the Bryant case is fair and reasonable. The $28,850,000 settlement includes the verdict awarded by the federal jury in August 2022, and further resolves all outstanding issues related to pending legal claims in state court, future claims by the Bryant children, and other costs, with each party responsible for its respective attorneys’ fees,” Hashmall says in the statement. “This settlement now concludes all County-related litigation related to the tragic January 2020 helicopter crash. We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss.”
A few days after the jury awarded the family the money, her lawyer had announced that she plans to give an unspecified amount of the award to Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, which is a non-profit that continues Kobe and Giana’s legacies and offers opportunities to underprivileged young athletes.
“From the beginning, Vanessa Bryant has sought only accountability, but our legal system does not permit her to force better policies, more training or officer discipline,” Li noted in a statement. “Those measures are the responsibility of the sheriff’s and fire departments — responsibilities that Mrs. Bryant’s efforts have exposed as woefully deficient, even giving amnesty to the wrongdoers.”