Jury awards Vanessa Bryant $16M in lawsuit over Kobe crash photographs

Jury awards Vanessa Bryant $16M in lawsuit over Kobe crash photographs

A federal jury has discovered that Los Angeles County should pay Vanessa Bryant $16 million {dollars} after first responders snapped and shared grisly photographs of the deadly 2020 helicopter crash that killed her husband, 13-year previous daughter and 7 others.

Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant have been among the many seven who died on the helicopter crash.

The panel of 9 jurors agreed that deputies and firefighters invaded the privateness of Kobe Bryant’s widow and introduced her emotional misery by taking photographs of the stays of the NBA star and his daughter Gianna.

Vanessa Bryant wept quietly as the decision was learn following 4 1/2 hours of jury deliberation, and walked out of court docket holding the hand of her 19-year-old daughter Natalia.

The jurors additionally awarded $15 million to plaintiff Chris Chester, who misplaced his spouse Sarah and daughter Payton within the crash.

Jurors unanimously discovered that the LA County Sheriff’s Division violated the constitutional rights of Bryant and Chester after they failed to coach their staff on accident scene picture-sharing protocol.

Throughout closing statements earlier Wednesday, county attorneys argued there wasn’t sufficient proof to show first responders shared the crash-site photographs with the general public.

Vanessa Bryant
Vanessa Bryant sued over concern photographs of her late husband Kobe and daughter Gianna’s helicopter crash can be put on-line.
Vanessa Bryant
Vanessa Bryant leaves a federal courthouse together with her daughter, Natalia, good friend Sydney Leroux, and Bryant’s lawyer, Luis Li, on Aug. 24, 2022.
AP/Jae C. Hong
Vanessa Bryant
Bryant’s eldest little one stood by her mom’s facet all through the trial.
AFP through Getty Photographs/ Patrick T. Fallon
Kobe Bryant helicopter crash scene
The scene of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant, and 7 others on board in January 2020.
Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Bryant
Vanessa, widow of Kobe Bryant, testified in court docket in regards to the ugly photographs.
AFP through Getty Photographs

“The proof isn’t there,” protection lawyer Mira Hashmall instructed the jury hours earlier than the decision was reached. “It is a footage case however there are not any footage.”

Bryant’s lawyer, Luis Li instructed the jury the photographs have been “not public and never [for] deputies to share.”

Chester’s lawyer Jerry Jackson argued the widow must be awarded $42.5 million and his shopper must be awarded $32.5 million for previous and future emotional misery attributable to the pictures.

“Grateful to a jury and choose that gave us a good trial,” Jackson instructed reporters after the decision was handed down.

Li declined to remark when requested for a response by The Submit.

Of their unanimous choice, the jury mentioned they didn’t consider first responders had a customized or apply of sharing photographs of deceased victims, solely that they lacked ample coaching.

“The jury despatched a message that any type of unprofessionalism or insensitivity on the a part of regulation enforcement won’t be tolerated,” Lou Shapiro, a federal lawyer and authorized analyst, instructed The Submit.

“It’s clear that the witnesses for the Sheriff’s Division didn’t come throughout as credible to the jury by way of them attempting to downplay the incident,” mentioned Shapiro.

In his closing argument, Li mentioned the end result of the trial wouldn’t solely have an effect on Vanessa Bryant and Chester, however might set a precedent relating to comparable insurance policies throughout the nation on how delicate footage must be dealt with by first responders and regulation enforcement.

Earlier this month, a bartender testified that Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Joey Cruz confirmed him photographs of the NBA stars’ stays.

The photographs had not been made public, however Bryant, 40 testified that the prospect of the pictures being leaked riddled her with concern and nervousness.

“I reside in concern on daily basis of being on social media and these popping up,” she testified final week.

“I reside in concern of my daughters being on social media and these popping up.”

A lawyer representing the county mentioned the decision was a combined bag, and mentioned it was exploring ”subsequent steps.”

“We’re grateful for the jury’s arduous work on this case,” lead counsel Mira Hashmall wrote in an announcement.

“Whereas we disagree with the jury’s findings as to the County’s legal responsibility, we consider the financial award reveals that jurors didn’t consider the proof supported the Plaintiffs’ request of $75 million for emotional misery. 

Coincidentally, the decision got here on the identical day the Metropolis of Los Angeles observes “Kobe Bryant Day,” which was instituted on Aug. 24, 2016 after the Lakers legend’s retirement.

Tuesday would have been the basketball star’s forty fourth birthday.

With AP wires

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