Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, won her lawsuit against Los Angeles County for emotional distress caused by firefighters and deputies sharing photos of her husband’s and daughter’s remains after the tragic helicopter accident which killed both.
The jury took less than five hours to decide in Bryant’s favor, and delivered a unanimous decision, which awarded Bryant $16 million for said emotional distress.
Both the county and judge in this case admitted that the photos should not have been shared. Vanessa Bryant testified that she often lives in fear of these pictures popping up on social media as a result of the county’s transgressions.
“I live in fear every 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.”
Vanessa Bryant wins lawsuit against LA County
Kobe was traveling with his daughter Gianna to a basketball tournament on that fateful day. When the remains were discovered, safety officials took photos of the remains and shared them with others in an effort Bryant’s attorney considered “virtual gossip” rather than for any investigation.
As stated per the Associated Press, the county did admit that those actions were unfortunate and far from necessary, though they were adamant the photos were not shared publicly.
“She (County attorney J. Mira Hashmall) acknowledged that they should not have been shared with everyone who saw them. But she emphasized that the photos had never appeared publicly and had never been seen by the plaintiffs. She said that meant that Sheriff Alex Villanueva and other officials had taken decisive and effective action when they ordered those who had the photos to delete them.”
While said decision will not bring Kobe or Gianna back to us, we can only hope it does provide some semblance of closure for Vanessa in the grand scheme of things.