Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant has reached a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit against a helicopter company over the fatal crash that killed her husband, their daughter Giana and seven others.
via: The Blast
According to legal documents, obtained by The Blast, Vanessa Bryant entered into a confidential settlement with the company that included family members of others who were tragically killed in the accident. As we reported, Vanessa filed the lawsuit claiming the company was responsible, along with the pilot, for deciding to fly on a foggy morning.
As you know, Kobe Bryant was traveling with daughter Gianna and seven others to a youth basketball tournament north of Los Angeles. The chopper crashed into a hillside near Calabasas after appearing to get lost in the fog. The parties filed a “joint notice of settlement and joint request to vacate discovery deadlines.” A judge still needs to sign off on the settlement, but in most cases, it is just a formality.
“Plaintiffs and Defendants jointly report that they have agreed to settle their claims in the above-entitled action,” the documents state.
In the lawsuit, Vanessa claimed, “Island Express Helicopters authorized, directed and/or permitted a flight with full knowledge that the subject helicopter was flying into unsafe weather conditions.” Kobe’s wife also claimed the pilot Ara Zobayan failed to “use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft.” She continued, Kobe and her daughter died “as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan” for which “the company is vicariously liable in all respects.”
The lawsuit accuses the pilot of negligence including failure to abort the flight and not monitoring and assessing the weather properly.
At this point, it is unclear what the financial terms of the settlement are for the Bryant family, but as you can imagine, Vanessa was suing for loss of potential earning compacity of one of the top paid athletes ever. We are guessing the final settlement was in the millions.
In the final report, investigators believed one of the issues with the deadly flight was the pilot’s inability to cancel the fight due to the celebrity status of the passengers. In other words, he might have known it was dangerous to fly that fateful morning but didn’t want to cancel on Kobe Bryant.
This isn’t the only lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant, as we reported, she is also suing the County of Los Angeles — after Sheriff deputies took photos from the crash scene and disseminate them throughout the department. According to reports, one of the deputies showed a patron inside of a local bar, and the person reported the incident to the department. Several weeks ago, Vanessa’s legal team was given the ability to name the police officers involved in the incident.
That case is ongoing.
The settlement doesn’t bring much comfort but at least it’s holding someone accountable.