Los Angeles County has agreed to pay nearly $29 million to the widow of American basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who died 3 years ago with his daughter and 7 others in a helicopter crash.
Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the late star, filed a lawsuit after the Los Angeles Police Department published pictures of the accident, saying that “first responders portrayed the human remains as a negotiable souvenir.”
Los Angeles County attorneys deemed the settlement to be “just and equitable”.
Statement of attorneys for the plaintiff
• “Today marks the successful culmination of Ms. Bryant’s courageous fight to hold accountable those who engaged in this heinous behaviour.”
• “Vanessa Bryant fought for her husband, her daughter, and everyone in the community whose deceased family was treated with the same disrespect.”
• “This settlement will put an end to this practice
All of the county-related lawsuits from the incident have been resolved, said the Los Angeles County lead trial attorney for the case, Myra Hashmul.
It said the $28,850,000 settlement included $16 million awarded by a federal jury in August 2022 to Bryant’s widow. widow , in the Invasion of Privacy v. Los Angeles County case.
“We hope that Ms Bryant and her children will continue to recover from their loss,” the lawyer added.
Lawyers told US media, Tuesday, that Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter also died in the same accident on January 26, 2020, settled separately with the county on a settlement worth nearly $20 million.
In March 2021, Bryant’s widow published the names of 4 local officials who she said had distributed “free pictures of dead kids, parents and coaches” who were travelling to a basketball game.
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She said the photos, including those of her 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were taken and published “for no reason other than terrifying gossip”.
Ms. Bryant testified at the trial that she had read in media reports how pictures of the plane crash had been shown in a bar, by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy.
She told the court: “I live in fear of my daughters appearing on social media .”
Since then, the state of California has passed a bylaw prohibiting first responders from taking unauthorized photographs of people who die at the scene of an accident or crime.
The plane, a Sikorsky S-76B, came down a hillside outside Calabasas, in foggy weather.