According to CNN, Vanessa Bryant (wife of NBA player Kobe Bryant) has reached a settlement worth more than $28 million for photos taken by Los Angeles County officials of her husband’s helicopter accident.
In August 2022, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and Fire departments were found guilty of violating the rights of Vanessa Bryant and Christopher Chester (the husband of a victim in the same accident).
L.A. County officials were found to have violated the plaintiff’s constitutional rights, taking and sharing graphic photographs of the helicopter crash that resulted in the deaths of nine people. These photos showed detailed, close-up images of the mangled bodies.
Chester and Bryant both claimed that the photos caused them emotional distress and violated privacy. Both Bryant and Chester testified that they feared that the photos would resurface. Bryant claimed she also suffered anxiety attacks and panic attacks after learning about the photos. The county claimed that the photos were destroyed.
Bryant and Chester were awarded $31 million in damages. Court corrections resulted in each party receiving $15 million.
Bryant’s $ 28.85 million settlement includes the initial amount, as well as money to settle any future or outstanding legal claims against the county.
Mira Hashmall (leading trial counsel for Los Angeles County) stated that the $28,850,000 settlement included the August 2022 verdict. It also resolves any outstanding legal claims in state courts, future claims by Bryant children, and other costs. Each party is responsible for its respective attorney’s fees.
Witnesses revealed during 11 days of testimony that graphic photos were shown in multiple unsavory circumstances to several people. One deputy claimed that he showed the photos at a bar to two people, while another deputy stated that he shared them with a friend over a game.
During an awards ceremony cocktail hour, a fire official showed the images to other people.
Luis Li, an attorney for Bryant, stated to CNN that today marked the culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous struggle to hold those responsible for this grotesque conduct.
“She stood up for her husband, her child, and all the others in the community whose family members had died. We hope her victory at trial and this settlement will put an end to this practice,” he added.