LA County Settles With Vanessa Bryant for $28.5 Million

Los Angeles County has agreed to a final settlement with the family of Kobe Bryant over claims that emergency responders took and shared grisly photos from at the helicopter crash scene. The January 26, 2020 crash killed nine people including Bryant and his 13 year-old daughter.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, filed suit alleging violations of the Fourteenth Amendment under 42 USC §1983, negligence, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Last summer, a federal jury awarded Ms. Bryant, $15 million in damages.

In an effort to resolve any remaining claims and avoid further litigation, the county has agreed to pay $28.5 million to settle all claims with the Bryants. According to CNN, Bryant’s attorney, Luis Li, issued a statement saying:

  • Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct.
  • 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.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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