LA County Settles 2 of 4 Lawsuits over Kobe Bryant Crash Scene Photos for $2.5 Million

Los Angeles County has agreed to settle the claims of two of the four families who filed suits over crash scene photos taken by emergency responders at the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash. The January 26, 2021 crash killed nine people including Bryant and his 13 year-old daughter.

Following the crash, firefighters and members of law enforcement reportedly took and shared grisly non-official photographs. That prompted four separate lawsuits by the families of those killed in the crash.

The settlement approved yesterday will split $2.5 million between the family of Christina Mauser, and the family of John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli. Each family will reportedly receive $1.25 million.

That leaves two other photo-related lawsuits brought by the families of crash victims, one filed by Vanessa Bryant and the other by the family of Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter, Payton. A fifth lawsuit was filed by an LA County fire captain over allegations that his rights were violated during the course of the investigation into photo taking. More on the settlement.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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