Vanessa Bryant, families of helicopter crash victims reach settlement in wrongful-death lawsuit

Vanessa Bryant, families of helicopter crash victims reach settlement in wrongful-death lawsuit
Vanessa Bryant attends the Universal Pictures "F9" World Premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 18, 2021 in Hollywood, California. Rich Fury/WireImages/Getty Images
  • Vanessa Bryant settled a lawsuit with the helicopter company involved in Kobe Bryant's fatal crash.
  • Terms of the settlement - between families, the company, and the pilot's estate - weren't disclosed.
  • A lawsuit against the Los Angeles police, accused of sharing photos from the crash site, is ongoing.

Vanessa Bryant and other families have settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with the company involved in the helicopter crash that killed the NBA icon Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others last year.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in a settlement-agreement notice filed to court Tuesday, and the settlement is awaiting approval by the judge overseeing the case.

A pilot was flying Kobe Bryant, the 13-year-old Gianna, and six others to a youth basketball tournament at the former Lakers star's Mamba Sports Academy when their helicopter crashed in California's San Fernando Valley on January 26, 2020.

The crash killed everyone aboard the helicopter.

Months later, Vanessa Bryant sued the company, Island Express Helicopters, and its owner, alleging that the company didn't properly train the aircraft's pilot, Ara Zobayan, and arguing that it should not have allowed the flight to happen in foggy weather. She also sued Zobayan's estate, saying he had shown negligence by flying the helicopter in bad weather conditions.


The lawsuit was joined by the family members of the others who were killed in the crash, who also agreed to the confidential settlement conditions, court records show.

Island Express Helicopters had blamed the crash on the Federal Aviation Administration, whose air-traffic controllers permitted the pilot to fly. It filed a countersuit against the agency, which is not a party to the settlement agreement.

In a separate lawsuit, Vanessa Bryant also sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and other Los Angeles government agencies after deputies took and shared photos of the crash and its victims. That lawsuit remains ongoing.