Vanessa Bryant has settled a lawsuit against the helicopter company and the estate of the late pilot for the deadly crash that killed her NBA all-star husband Kobe Bryant, her basketball prodigy daughter Gianna, and seven others in January 2020.
According to the filing in Los Angeles Superior Court, the material terms of the settlement are confidential and the settling parties are finalizing documents. Bryant, along with three families whose loved ones were also killed, launched the lawsuit in February 2020 under claims that Island Express Helicopters and the late pilot Ara Zobayan were negligent in flying under unsuitable weather conditions. This February, a probe from National Transportation Safety Board released findings that the crash was caused by an pilot error linked to “self-induced pressure” to follow through with flight plans for a celebrity client. Moreover, the NTSB reported that the pilot’s decision to ascend into blinding clouds at high speed left him susceptible to spatial disorientation. Island Express Helicopters were also placed at fault for its “inadequate review and oversight of its safety management processes.”
As of late, the late widow still has an open lawsuit against the LA County Sherriff’s Department. Bryant filed the suit for severe emotional distress after deputies responding to the crash allegedly snapped personal cellphone photos of the scene, including the bodies of the victims. According to the lawsuit, “no fewer than 8 sheriff’s deputies at the crash site, pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification.” After the photos were shared amongst the deputies, the suit further alleges that a bartender witnessed a deputy sharing the photos to another woman at the bar. Bryant asserts that although the bartender reported the incident to the Sherriff’s office, Sherrif Villanueva encouraged them to simply destroy the evidence to avoid any further repercussions.