Vanessa Bryant Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Helicopter Company

The complaint claims negligence in crash that killed Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven others

Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant
Vanessa Laine Bryant and Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles in November 2019.
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Baby2Baby
By Bonnie Stiernberg / February 24, 2020 1:45 pm

Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant has reportedly filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the helicopter company that operated the flight carrying the NBA star, their daughter Gianna and seven others that crashed on Jan. 26, killing all onboard.

The suit alleges that Island Express Helicopters was negligent in its decision to fly in dangerous weather conditions and that the pilot, Ara Zobayan (who was also killed in the crash), was going 180 mph in heavy fog and “failed to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft.”

“Defendant Island Express Helicopters’ breach of its duty and negligence caused the injuries and damages complained of herein and Plaintiffs’ deceased, Kobe Bryant, was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects,” the lawsuit reads.

The suit also points out that Zobayan was disciplined in 2015 for violating visual flight rule minimums and flying in an airspace with reduced visibility.

TMZ reports that the lawsuit also seeks damages for the “pre-impact terror” experienced by Kobe and Gianna in the harrowing moments before the crash when the helicopter struggled to navigate the fog.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the 27-count complaint seeks general damages, economic damages and punitive damages, and while no specific figure has been reported, the damages are expected to be in the millions.

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