You may recall that the father and daughter duo died in a Calabasas helicopter crash in 2020, and photos from the devastating accident were reportedly leaked by the county’s Sheriff Department (LASD) and Fire Department (LAFD).
The unauthorized release prompted Vanessa to sue for invasion of privacy, but she recently reached a final settlement with the county for nearly thirty million dollars.
Vanessa Bryant Reaches Final Settlement With The LA. County Sheriff And Fire Departments
February ended with Vanessa culminating her lawsuit against L.A. County by settling for a $28.5 million remuneration from the county’s Board of Supervisors. The settlement covers claims from the bereaved widow and any future claims from her and Kobe’s children — 20-year-old Natalie, 6-year-old Bianka, and 3-year-old Capri.
According to PEOPLE, the agreement is still “conditional upon court approval” for the minor children and every party involved is to pay for their legal fees. Vanessa’s lawyer Luis Li said in a statement to the magazine, “Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct.”
Li further noted that the business executive fought for her husband, daughter, and those whose deceased families were treated similarly. He hoped her triumph at the trial and the settlement would put a stop to such habits.
On the other hand, Mira Hashmall, partner at the Miller Barondess law firm and lead counsel for L.A. County in the case, regarded the agreement as “fair and reasonable.”
She said, “This settlement now concludes all County-related litigation related to the tragic January 2020 helicopter crash. We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss.”
Vanessa was initially paid $15 million last August after being reduced from $16 million due to a clerical error. Now, the sum has been added to the final settlement.
Alongside the model’s family, photos of her co-plaintiff Chris Chester’s wife Sarah and their daughter Payton, 13, who died in the helicopter crash were also leaked.
The jury discovered in August that the LASD and LAFD were guilty of the act, thereby invading the privacy of the grieving families and causing emotional distress. Vanessa and Chris sued at the time with claims that the photographs of the victims’ bodies were publicly circulated on at least 28 devices owned by the sheriff’s department and over twelve first responders.
As The Blast reported, the trial for the lawsuit lasted for eleven days, beginning on August 10, and fortunately for the co-plaintiffs, it was ruled in their favor. To that end, they were awarded a total of $31 million in damages, with the mother-of-four getting $16 million while Chester received $15 million.
In detail, Vanessa was awarded $2.5 million for emotional distress suffered in the past as well as $7.5 million for future suffering, to be paid by the county’s Sheriff Department. Additionally, $6 million was included from the LAFD, with $1 million for past suffering and $5 million for future suffering.
As for Chester, he received $6 million from the Fire Department and $9 million from the LASD: $1.5 million for past suffering and $7.5 million for future suffering.
The Granity Studios President Got Slammed For Donating Court’s Payout To Her Foundation
After being paid millions of dollars by the Sheriff and Fire departments, Vanessa decided to donate the money to her Mamba and Mambacita Foundation. Before the payout, her attorney, Li, acknowledged her efforts to right the system and hoped that the case’s success would alter the “callous behaviors” of the police ad fire departments.
Li said, “From the beginning, Vanessa Bryant has sought only accountability, but our legal system does not permit her to force better policies, more training, or officer discipline.”
Despite the 40-year-old’s distress following the leaked pictures, people were not so supportive of her million-dollar donation to her foundation.
“Donating to sexual assault and women’s organizations would be more fitting,” a hater wrote on social media, adding “#KobeWasARapist.” A second commenter claimed that the donation was a “tax dodge,” implying that she could spend the money any way she wanted since she controlled the foundation.