Vanessa Bryant and Families of Helicopter Crash Victims Settle Lawsuit

Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA Hall of Famer and Lakers legend Kobe Bryant along with the families of the other crash victims, settled their lawsuit against the estate of the pilot and owners of the helicopter company that crashed taking the lives of Kobe, their daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

The settlement was signed Tuesday, according to numerous media outlets including ESPN.

The other victims were baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa. Christina Mauser, who coached Gianna’s basketball team with Bryant and Sarah Chester with her daughter Payton. Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester were Gianna’s teammates. They were traveling to a basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy. 

The investigation from the National Transportation Safety Board released a report claiming pilot error and his series of poor decisions along with company’s inadequate review practices and safety oversights.

This settlement now effectively ends legal action against pilot Ara Zobayan’s estate and companies Island Express Helicopters Inc. and parent company, Island Express Holding Corp. The suit alleged that Zobayan’s “carelessness” and “negligence” caused the fatal crash and that the flight should have been aborted. The suit includes the companies lack of training and supervision of their pilot on duty.

Island Express Helicopters Inc. denied responsibility calling the crash “an act of God” that was out of their control. The company filed a countersuit against the two Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers on duty, blaming the crash on their “series of erroneous acts and/or omissions.”

This settlement agreement does not include the countersuit against the Federal Aviation Administration.