Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, has filed a lawsuit against the owner of the helicopter that went down on that fateful Sunday morning in Calabasas, CA. That accident killed a total of nine people including Kobe Bryant, their daughter Vanessa Bryant (13 years old), the pilot, and numerous other passengers. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed while her family, the LA community, and the nation as a whole continue to mourn the loss of a sports superstar and global icon. A public ceremony was held recently.
In the lawsuit, Vanessa Bryant alleges in the Superior Court of Los Angeles that the pilot was both careless and negligent. To support this claim, she mentions the cloudy conditions that was present on January 26th. She claims that he should have aborted the flight before it got in the air and ultimately crashed in the mountains, killing everyone on board. The lawsuit targets the owner of the helicopter, Island Express Helicopters, Inc., as well as the successor to the pilot, Ara Zobayan. That successor has been listed as “Doe 1.” A successor to the pilot must still be named.
The lawsuit then goes into several examples of the pilot’s negligence. These include a failure to accurately assess the weather conditions that were present that morning, taking the helicopter into conditions that he was not cleared to fly into, and a failure to adequately control the helicopter during the flight. Right now, an investigation into the causes of the accident is ongoing; however, weather and pilot error are being deemed as the main causes at this time.
In the state of California, plaintiffs have two years to file a wrongful death claim. The timing of this lawsuit fits this timeline as the accident happened about a month ago. The lawsuit was filed the same day as the memorial service for Kobe and Vanessa was being held.
On the day of the accident, Kobe Bryant and the rest of the passengers were headed from LA to Kobe Bryant’s basketball academy for a game. Kobe was being flown by his regular pilot. The pilot was operating under visual flight rules, meaning he was required to see where he was going. The Federal Aviation Administration had cited the pilot for violating these rules back in May 2015. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress, funeral expenses, and punitive damages that will act as a deterrent in the future.