The widow of Kobe Bryant, the basketball legend, is set to receive $29 million in a settlement from Los Angeles County following her husband’s death. It came about after police circulated graphic images of Bryant’s plane crash two years ago, which left a lasting impact on the former Lakers star family.
In the fatal helicopter accident in the LA area, Bryant and his daughter Gianna were killed, as well as seven other people. According to LA County lawyers, the settlement is “fair and reasonable”. A federal jury awarded $28,850,000 as part of Bryant’s privacy lawsuit against Los Angeles County in August 2022, according to Los Angeles County’s lead trial counsel.
Vanessa Bryant claimed in March 2021 that four sheriff deputies circulated photos of parents, dead children, and coaches. Based on the report, she claimed that the photographs were only taken for the purpose of “morbid gossip”.
A Sikorsky S-76B plane carrying Bryant crashed near Calabasas on a hillside near the city, killing him after the pilot lost control of the aircraft.
In a lawsuit they filed against the county for negligence and invasion of privacy of the families of Altobelli and Mauser, whose loved ones were also in the crash, the Altobelli and Mauser families each received one million dollars.
It was the county’s initial position that the photos were not posted on the internet or in any public forum outside of isolated incidents at bars and at awards banquets in Bryant’s case.
In October 2021, however, the case escalated when she won a court order that compelled the pretrial deposition testimony of both LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Fire Chief Daryl Osby to be taken before the trial.
Since then, a settlement has been reached between Vanessa Bryant and Los Angeles County. In August 2022, she was already awarded $15m (£12.5m) in damages following a federal court trial.