Vanessa Bryant Reaches $29M Settlement in Suit Over Kobe Bryant Crash Photos
The deal with the LA County Sheriff's Department, fire department and the county itself includes a $16 million jury award and resolves her remaining claims as well as those of their children.
Vanessa Bryant has reached a nearly $29 million settlement with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, fire department and the county itself that resolves a lawsuit over photos taken of NBA star Kobe Bryant and their daughter Giana after they and several others were killed in a helicopter crash.
Bryant sued in Sept. 2020 after learning that first responders had taken photos on their cell phones and shared them with colleagues, and one person showed a stranger at a bar.
A federal jury in August awarded Bryant $16 million for past and future pain and suffering and emotional distress caused by deputies and firefighters sharing photos of her late husband and daughter at the site of the crash. The award includes $10 million in damages from the sheriff's department and $6 million from the fire department.
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The parties on Tuesday notified the court they've reached a settlement that resolves the remaining claims, including those from Bryant's children. Bryant's family will receive the amount awarded by the jury as well as an additional $12.85 million. The portion of the deal that relates to her two minor children needs to be approved by the judge, and a motion for approval is expected to be filed by the end of March.
"This settlement marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant's courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct," Bryant's attorney Luis Li of Wilson Sonsini said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
Mira Hashmall of Miller Barondess, who was lead trial counsel for LA County, on Wednesday sent THR this statement: "We believe the settlement approved by the Board in the Bryant case is fair and reasonable. The $28,850,000 settlement includes the verdict awarded by the federal jury in August 2022, and further resolves all outstanding issues related to pending legal claims in state court, future claims by the Bryant children, and other costs, with each party responsible for its respective attorneys' fees. This settlement now concludes all County-related litigation related to the tragic January 2020 helicopter crash. We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss."
The sheriff's department has not yet replied to a request for comment.