Jury awards Vanessa Bryant $16 million over crash photos taken of Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna

LOS ANGELES — A federal jury discovered Wednesday that Los Angeles County should pay Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, $16 million for emotional misery brought on by deputies and firefighters sharing photos of the our bodies of the NBA star and his daughter taken on the website of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed them.

The 9 jurors who returned the unanimous verdict agreed with Vanessa Bryant and her attorneys that the photos of the stays of Kobe Bryant and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, invaded her privateness and introduced her emotional misery.

The jury deliberated for 4 1/2 hours earlier than reaching the decision. Vanessa Bryant cried quietly because it was learn.

An lawyer for the county declined touch upon the decision exterior the courtroom.

The photos have been shared largely amongst staff of the L.A. County sheriff’s and hearth departments, together with by some who have been enjoying video video games and attending an awards banquet. They additionally have been seen by some of their spouses and in a single case by a bartender at a bar the place a deputy was ingesting.

Vanessa Bryant tearfully testified in the course of the 11-day trial that information of the photos compounded her still-raw grief a month after dropping her husband and daughter, and that she nonetheless has panic assaults on the thought that they may nonetheless be on the market.

“I reside in worry day-after-day of being on social Media and these popping up,” she testified. “I live in fear of my daughters being on social Media and these popping up.”

Her co-plaintiff, Chris Chester, whose spouse and daughter have been additionally among the many 9 folks killed within the crash, was awarded $15 million.

Vanessa Bryant’s attorneys didn’t give jurors a greenback quantity they thought their shopper deserved, however Chester’s lawyer gave them prompt pointers that will have meant tens of thousands and thousands for every plaintiff.

Vanessa Bryant’s lawyer Luis Li informed jurors that the close-up photos had no official or investigative objective, and have been mere “visual gossip” shared out of a ugly curiosity.

County lawyer J. Mira Hashmall argued in the course of the trial that the photos have been a needed software for assessing the scenario.

She acknowledged that they need to not have been shared with everybody who noticed them. But she emphasised that the photos had by no means appeared publicly and had by no means been seen by the plaintiffs. She mentioned that meant that Sheriff Alex Villanueva and different officers had taken decisive and efficient motion once they ordered those that had the photos to delete them.

Kobe Bryant, the previous Lakers star, five-time NBA champion and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, was touring with Gianna and 7 others to a youth basketball recreation when the helicopter they have been aboard crashed into hills in Calabasas west of Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2020.

Federal security officers blamed pilot error for the crash.

The jury returned its verdict on the town of Los Angeles’ Kobe Bryant Day, which is marked on Aug. 24 as a result of it makes use of each of his jersey numbers — 8 and 24 — and is the day after his birthday. Tuesday would have been his forty fourth birthday.

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