Vanessa Bryant and the family members of the other victims in a deadly helicopter crash have settled the wrongful death lawsuit against the charter company and the estate of the operating helicopter pilot responsible for the death of former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven others in January of 2020.
Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed, according to a court document filed Tuesday in federal court in Los Angeles.
"The material terms of the settlement and releases are known to the settling parties and include that the terms of the settlement are confidential," the document read, via USA Today.
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The suit was originally filed in February of 2020 and alleged that pilot Ara Zobayan, who was also one of the nine victims, failed "to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft" and was "negligent." Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's widow, wanted some form of payback for the extreme losses she suffered, and she was joined by several other families who also had loved ones die in the crash. NBC News reported the following about the lawsuit at the time of its filing:
[Vanessa] Bryant alleges in the suit that the pilot failed to abort the flight even though he knew of cloudy conditions. The suit also says Zobayan flew the helicopter into conditions in which he couldn't viably navigate using visual references, forcing him to use instrument flight rules [IFR], and failed to avoid or keep a safe distance between the aircraft and obstacles in the flight path.
The settlement ends legal action against Zobayan's estate and Island Express Holding Corp. and Island Express Helicopters, which has denied responsibility for the crash. The helicopter company also countersued two Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers for perceived mistakes made on the day of the crash. The settlement reached by Bryant and the other families doesn't include the countersuits.
While the wrongful death suit is settled, it doesn't end active litigation for the Bryant family, as Vanessa also filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and his department in September. That lawsuit claims that deputies in the department took graphic photos on their personal cellphones of the helicopter crash. That lawsuit sought damages "for negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress." Following this incident, legislation that makes it a misdemeanor for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime was signed into law.