Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader
Vanessa Bryant, others settle lawsuit with helicopter firm in Kobe Bryant crash

Vanessa Bryant and others reached a confidential settlement with the company that operated the helicopter in the crash that killed 9, including her husband and daughter. (Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

Vanessa Bryant and others settled wrongful death lawsuits Tuesday against the company that operated the helicopter that crashed in January 2020, killing Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others.

Attorneys for the families, the helicopter company and insurers filed “joint notice of settlement and joint request to vacate discovery deadlines” documents with the court on Tuesday.

The terms of the settlement remain confidential. “Plaintiffs and Defendants jointly report that they have agreed to settle their claims in the above-entitled action,” according to the court filing by Gary Robb, one of the nation’s top litigators on helicopter disasters and attorneys at Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, filed suit against Fillmore-based Island Express Holding Corp. and Island Express Helicopters. The suit alleged that pilot Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash in Calabasas, failed “to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft” and was negligent during the Jan. 26, 2020, crash.

The settlement also resolves the suit by the surviving family members of John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their basketball-playing daughter Alyssa; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; as well as Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser. The documents filed by Vanessa Bryant’s legal team indicate the other families were also part of the settlement.

In February, the National Transportation Safety Board determined the cause of the crash was Zobayan’s decision to fly under visual flight rules in cloudy conditions, which resulted in his spatial disorientation and loss of control of the aircraft. The board added that Zobayan’s “likely” self-induced pressure to get Bryant to his destination and inadequate review of safety management procedures by helicopter operator Island Express contributed to the crash. Flying under visual flight rules through cloud cover was “legally prohibited,” yet Zobayan “continued his flight into clouds,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

Zobayan, the NTSB said, made a “poor decision” to fly at excessive speed in bad weather, and the helicopter was not in a controlled flight pattern when it crashed into a hillside at 9:45 a.m.

Bryant alleged that “Island Express Helicopters authorized, directed and/or permitted a flight with full knowledge that the subject helicopter was flying into unsafe weather conditions.”


Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post