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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Jury Awards $31M in Kobe Bryant Crash Photos Case

  • Vanessa Bryant and Chris Chester, who each lost multiple family members in crash, sued L.A. County in 2020.
  • It took jurors less than five hours of deliberations to issue verdict after the 11-day trial.
Kobe Verdict
Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports

A jury ordered Los Angeles County to pay a total of $31 million over graphic photos taken and shared by first responders from the site of the helicopter crash that claimed the life of former Lakers great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others.

After an 11-day trial, it took less than five hours of deliberations Wednesday before the jurors came back with the verdict in the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

Vanessa Bryant, a co-plaintiff in the case, will receive a total of $16 million for emotional distress and future suffering, according to Law & Crime. Chris Chester, the other co-plaintiff in the case who lost his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Payton, in the accident will receive a total of $15 million. 

“All for you! I love you!” Vanessa Bryant wrote on her Instagram account after the verdict. “JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi!”

An attorney for Chester urged jurors to award as much as up to $75 million in damages.

Bryant and Chester filed the lawsuit in October 2020 that alleged the  LA County Sheriff’s Department and LA County Fire Department violated their right to privacy.

According to the lawsuit, attorneys for Bryant and Chester alleged that at least 10 members of the sheriff’s department “obtained and possessed images of the victims’ remains on their personal cell phones without any legitimate reason for having them” within 48 hours of the January 2020 crash.

L.A. County firefighters allegedly shared the graphic photos via text and AirDrop.

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