Vanessa Bryant Settles Crash Photos Lawsuit For $28.85M

Los Angeles County To Pay Vanessa Bryant And Daughters $28.85M In Crash Photos Lawsuit Settlement

Los Angeles County has agreed to cut multiple checks totaling over $50 million to four families affected by the circulation of photos from the 2020 helicopter crash that killed nine people, including Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant.

Vanessa Bryant and daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri will benefit $28,850,000 from the payout. The lump sum combines the $15 million a jury awarded Vanessa in August 2022 and an additional $13.85 million. Her initial winnings totaled $16 million, but officials later reduced it by $15 million due to a clerical error, per The New York Times. 

“Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct,” Bryant’s lawyer Luis Li told NYT. “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.”

RELATED: Judge Rules That Vanessa Bryant Does Not Have To Undergo A Psychiatric Evaluation In Lawsuit Against LA County (Update)

In August, the jury also awarded Christopher Chester $15 million for the shared photos. Chester joined Bryant’s lawsuit given the loss of his wife Sarah and 13-year-old daughter Payton in the helicopter crash. According to NYT, L.A. County agreed to pay Chester an additional $4,950,000 for any future claims against them.

Additionally, the county reportedly settled with two other families affected by the photos in October 2021. Each family was awarded $1,250,000.

Here’s What Vanessa Bryant Revealed During The Deposition

As reported, a federal jury found the L.A. County Sheriff’s and Fire departments liable for infringing on the constitutional rights of Bryant and Chester in August 2022.

Deputies and fire officials accessed photos of the helicopter wreckage and disfigured adult and child bodies by taking and sharing the images among others in their departments. Additionally, deputies and firefighters reportedly showed the images in non-work related spaces like a gala and a bar.

Vanessa filed a lawsuit against former Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the department in September 2020 for negligence and invasion of privacy.

In a deposition for the lawsuit, Bryant said she spoke to Villanueva on the day of the crash and asked for the crash site to be secured.

“And I said: If you can’t bring my husband and my baby back, please make sure that no one takes photographs of them. Please secure the area. And he said: ‘I will.’ And I said: ‘No, I need you to get on the phone right now, and I need you to make sure you secure the area,” Vanessa said.

At the trial, she revealed she later learned about the photos through a Los Angeles Times article published in March 2020. Per the county, all the photos were deleted, thus keeping them from being publicly shared. However, Bryant and Chester testified in August that they live in fear over the photos potentially surfacing.

“I live in fear my daughters being on social media and these popping up,” Vanessa testified.

On Tuesday, lead counsel for L.A. County, Mira Hashmall, released a statement calling the settlement “fair and reasonable.” 

“We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss,” Mira Hashmall said.


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