Vanessa Bryant Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash

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Vanessa Bryant Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash
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Kobe Bryant's family is closing one chapter in the aftermath of his fatal crash, by reaching a settlement agreement with the helicopter company that operated his flight.

His widow, Vanessa Bryant, and families of other victims agreed on a confidential settlement on Tuesday, June 22, according to the court notice obtained by E! News.

"Plaintiffs and Defendants jointly report that they have agreed to settle their claims," reads the notice. "The material terms of the settlement and releases are known to the settling parties and include that the terms of the settlement are confidential."

They are finalizing the settlement documents and will request that the California judge approve the agreement.

Defendants Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp, along with the successor of pilot Ara Zobayan, all agreed to settle.

Last year, Vanessa sued them for the wrongful death of her husband Kobe, 41, and daughter Gianna, 13, after they were killed in a January 2020 helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., along with seven other people. Her surviving children Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 2, were also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Kobe Bryant: Life in Photos

In addition to Kobe, Gianna and Ara, the helicopter accident killed passengers Christina Mauser; Alyssa, John and Keri Altobelli; and Payton and Sarah Chester.

Successors John James Altobelli, Alexis Altobelli, Christopher Chester, Matthew Mauser and multiple minors were also listed as plaintiffs and agreed to the settlement arrangement, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, Natalia Bryant, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Sports Awards
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, Natalia Bryant, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Sports Awards

Vanessa's lawsuit accused the pilot of failing to properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff, as well as failing to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions, among other allegations. At the time, she asked for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

When the suit was filed, a spokesperson for Island Express Helicopters told E! News in a statement, "This was a tragic accident. We will have no comment on the pending litigation."

E! News has reached out to Island Express helicopters and Vanessa's rep for comment on the settlement.

Vanessa separately sued the L.A. County Sheriff and his department, including four L.A. County sheriff's deputies that she accused of leaking photos of the crash site. In March 2021, she revealed their identities as Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell and Raul Versales. (E! News reached out to the individuals at the time, but didn't hear back.)

That lawsuit alleges, "No fewer than eight sheriff's deputies at the crash site, pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification."

The LASD released a statement last September about the legal proceedings, saying, "Shortly following this tragic crash, Sheriff Villanueva sponsored legislation which now makes it a crime for public safety personnel to take or share non-official pictures of this nature." It went on, "As a result of the swift actions we took under extraordinary circumstances, no pictures made it into the public arena. We continue to offer our heartfelt sympathies for the victims and their families."

Just two days ago, Vanessa marked the second Father's Day gone without the basketball champion.

"To the best girl dad. Happy Father's Day, Papi," his wife of nearly 20 years wrote on Instagram. "We love you forever and always, always and forever. Love you always, Nani, Gigi, B.B, Koko and VB."