Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, was in a long legal battle with LA County. After a stretch of long trials and court visits, she has finally come out on top. Vanessa has earned about $29 million in settlement money from LA County after they lost the lawsuit.
Kobe was headed to a youth basketball game on January 26, 2020, with his daughter Gianna along with seven other people. Sadly, the helicopter they were riding in went down in some hills west of Los Angeles in Calabasas. Federal safety inspectors attribute the accident, which claimed the lives of all nine individuals on board, to pilot error.
Initially, it was discovered that first responders shared photos of the victims including Kobe. The county originally insisted the photos were not shared on the internet or in any public forum. However, it turned out to be a lie and the graphic photos were shared at a bar and an awards banquet.
Later down the line, Vanessa sued L.A. County for damages after emergency personnel allegedly shared graphic crash scene images with unauthorized people. The case escalated after she won a court order to compel the pretrial deposition testimony of LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Fire Chief Daryl Osby in October 2021. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors agreed to pay the Bryant family nearly $29 million to settle the lawsuit.
“Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct.”
Bryant’s attorney Luis Li lauds the decision and condemned the LA county for no display of sensitivity during the incident. The lead trial counsel for L.A. County in the case, Mira Hashmall, wished the family well after the court verdict. She moreover verified that all the claims were settled and the lawsuit was fulfilled.
“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. 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.”
It’s great to see the county taking responsibility for a lack of privacy on a critical matter. The win for Vanessa makes a statement about anyone’s right to publicly stand tall against the wrongs of any person or organization or government.
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