Will receive nearly $30 million payment
By City News Service
Los Angeles County has agreed to pay Vanessa Bryant and three of her daughters nearly $30 million to settle a lawsuit and potential future claims over the sharing of graphic photos taken by first responders at the helicopter crash that killed Bryant’s husband, basketball star Kobe Bryant, and one of their daughters.
The settlement includes the $15 million a jury awarded Vanessa Bryant in August, with additional funds to settle potential claims from her daughters. The Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among the nine people who perished in the Jan. 26, 2020, crash on a Calabasas hillside.
“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,” said Mira Hashmall, lead trial counsel for the county in the case.
Vanessa Bryant and her co-plaintiff, Chris Chester—who lost his wife and daughter in the tragedy—sued for negligence and invasion of privacy in September 2020 and won at trial in Los Angeles federal court in August.
“Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct,” Luis Li, Bryant’s attorney, said in a statement.
The Board of Supervisors agreed to pay Bryant’s family $28.85 million to settle the widow’s lawsuit and possible future claims by Bryant and daughters: Natalia, 20, Bianka, 6, and Capri, 3. The jury in downtown Los Angeles awarded Bryant and Chester $15 million each.
Late last year, the board approved an additional $4.95 million to Chester for the loss of his wife, Sarah, and their 13-year-old daughter Payton.
Along with Chester’s and Bryant’s loved ones, the crash killed Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Keri Altobelli, 46; John Altobelli, 56; Christina Mauser, 38; and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.
Two other families separately settled with the county over the photos for $1.25 million each. All of the victims’ families reached a settlement with the helicopter company over the crash, but those terms remain confidential.