Vanessa Bryant Seeks Extensive Damages Over Helicopter CrashPublished on June 9, 2020.
Vanessa Bryant is seeking extensive damages from a California helicopter company after the passing of her husband, 41-year-old NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant.
On Monday, June 8, Vanessa filed a case summary statement to the Los Angeles Superior Court that detailed the extensive damages she plans to purse from her lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters, whose pilot, Ara Zobayan, flew the helicopter carrying Kobe, Gianna and six other passengers when it crashed on a foggy morning on January 26. All who were on board the helicopter, including Zobayan, passed away in the accident.
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Though the documents do not specify the exact amount Vanessa is seeking, it is estimated that the family lost “hundreds of millions” in future earnings due to Kobe’s untimely passed.
“As a result of Kobe Bryant’s and GB’s deaths, Vanessa Bryant seeks economic damages, non-economic damages, prejudgment interest, punitive damages, and other relief as the Court deems just and proper,” the document read, obtained by PEOPLE.
“Although the total specific amount of personal injury damages that Plaintiff seeks is TBD, Kobe Bryant’s future lost earnings equal hundreds of millions of dollars,” the document continued.
At the time, Kobe was just four years into his retirement from the NBA, he focused on business interests such as the Mamba Sports Academy Granity Studios, and publishing.
The case summary statement also revealed that Vanessa is seeking a jury trial for the lawsuit, but no date has been set as of yet.
Vanessa initially filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters in February. In the lawsuit, she claimed Zobayan “failed to properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff,” “failed to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions,” and “failed to properly and safely operate the helicopter resulting in a crash.”
She also claimed that Island Express Helicopters “knew or should have known” that the 50-year-old pilot had been previously cited by the FAA for violating “the visual flight rules minimums by flying into an area of reduced visibility from weather conditions.”
In May, attorneys for Island Express Helicopter filed a response in Los Angeles that argued Kobe and Gianna “had actual knowledge of all of the circumstances, particular dangers, and an appreciation of the risks involved and the magnitude thereof” of riding the helicopter.
By boarding the helicopter, the attorneys said the pair “voluntarily assume the risk of the accident, injury, and damages.”
On the day of the helicopter crash, the helicopter took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, at around 9:06 a.m., according to flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com. Kobe, Gianna and the six other passengers were on their way to a youth basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
Along with Kobe and Gianna, the crash also claimed the lives of 13-year-old Payton Chester, 46-year-old Sarah Chester, 14-year-old Alyssa Altobelli, 46-year-old Keri Altobelli, 56-year-old John Altobelli, and 38-year-old Christina Mauser.