On Wednesday, August 24, a jury awarded $16 million to the widow of the late basketball star Kobe Bryant for the sharing of photos of human remains at the helicopter crash site where her husband, their 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in 2020. The photos were taken at the site where her husband, their daughter, and seven others died.
After accusing members of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire departments of sharing gruesome images of the crash in unofficial settings, including with patrons in a bar, Vanessa Bryant had filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County, claiming that the county had violated her privacy. The lawsuit was filed under the theory of invasion of privacy.
Chris Chester, whose wife Sarah, 45, and daughter Payton, 13, were among those killed in the disaster, and who joined Bryant’s claim, was granted $15 million, bringing the total jury award to $31 million. Chris Chester’s wife Sarah and daughter Payton were among those killed in the crash.
The verdict was reached after approximately three and a half hours of deliberation by the same panel of nine individuals.
Bryant, who was present in the federal courthouse in Los Angeles as the verdict was read out following an 11-day trial, encircled her face in her hands and sobbed as it was announced. As they were leaving the courthouse, she and her attorney both denied the opportunity to talk with the reporters.
The accident that occurred on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California, claimed the lives of eight people, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.
According to the lawsuit, Mrs. Bryant is sickened by the prospect that members of the public, including sheriff’s officers, firefighters, and members of the general public have “gawked” at gratuitous photos of her slain husband and kid. “She lives in constant dread that she or her children will one day encounter gruesome photographs of their loved ones online,” and “She fears that she or her children will see these images.”
Officials from Los Angeles County maintained that the “serious and emotional and mental damage” weren’t caused by the county or the images, but rather by the crash itself. They claimed that the crash was responsible for the injuries.
Additionally, Vanessa Bryant has initiated legal action against both the helicopter charter firm and the estate of the pilot who passed away.
The county has already reached an agreement to pay $2.5 million to resolve a similar action brought by the relatives of other people who passed away in the accident.
When he passed away, Kobe Bryant was 41 years old. He was a brilliant player for the Los Angeles Lakers and made 18 All-Star teams during his career. In 2020, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.