LA Agrees to Pay the Bryant family

Los Angeles County agreed to pay the Bryant family $28.85 million on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The reason being that deputies and firefighters shared several graphic photos of the helicopter crash that caused the death of Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, the Altobelli family, Christina Mauser, Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester to co-workers, family members, and friends.

 “The truth is, the county has no idea who had the photos and who they sent them to,” Craig Lavoie, an attorney for the Bryant family stated. The settlement was called “fair and reasonable” by the lead lawyer that is representing the county, Mira Hashmall.

 Mira Hashmall also stated that the $28.85 million and the $15 million jury reward conclude, “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 attorney’s fees.” Meaning that it would avoid any potential future claims by the Bryant family, including the three daughters: Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.  

Vanessa Bryant sued Los Angeles county in September 2020 for negligence and invasion of privacy after learning from an L.A. Times investigation that first responders were sharing pictures with their close friends of the crash. Bryant won the trial in August and was paid $16 million, but was reduced by $1 million because of a clerical error.

According to the L.A. Times, the way the county of Los Angeles controlled the situation, will cost taxpayers around $51 million in attorney fees, costs, verdicts, and settlements to pay for the four families. 

Another attorney of the Bryant family, Luis Li, responded by stating, “Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct.”

The jury also paid Chris Chester $15 million and an additional $4.95 million for the deaths of his wife, Sarah, and his daughter, Payton who died in the crash. Another two families of the victims each received $1.25 million from Los Angeles county in October 2021. However, some cases remain to be resolved such as state law claims, for instance, invasion of privacy. 

Vanessa Bryant stated that the reason why she did what she did was that she would “live in fear that the photos would surface on the internet” and her daughters to see. She claimed that the situation would cause her to have panic attacks. “I live in fear of my daughters being on social media and these [the photos of the crash] popping up,” stated Bryant. 

“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,” stated Li. 

According to Bryant’s attorney, Luis Li, Bryant is going to be donating all proceeds from the lawsuit to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Which is “founded through the vision and loving memory Kobe and Gianna ‘Gigi’ Bryant”, it’s created to make a positive impact on underserved athletes.