Kobe Bryant: A $75 Million Damage Award Is Being Requested From the Jury Regarding the Crash Photos
A jury was instructed that Kobe Bryant’s wife and a family friend should be awarded $75 million in damages for the trauma they have suffered after seeing graphic images of the accident site where the basketball legend was slain.
Attorney Craig Lavoie told the nine-person jury in Los Angeles federal court on Tuesday that Vanessa Bryant and Christopher Chester, an Orange County financial adviser who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, will spend the rest of their lives worrying that images of their loved ones who died in the accident will be made public.
On the tenth day of the trial, Lavoie said in closing arguments, “Either the photos will surface and their worst fears will have been realised, or they will live in fear that day will come.”
Bryant and Chester filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles sheriff’s and fire departments, claiming that their constitutional rights were violated when first responders at the site of the incident took images with their phones and shared them with others.
Images of a loved one’s death that “shock the conscience” and are widely shared online would constitute a violation of California’s due process rights. If the jury comes to that conclusion, they will have to decide whether or not emergency personnel routinely take photographs of scenes, or whether or not the relevant departments have poor policies and training.
Lavoie told the jury that the lack of procedures and the fact that emergency workers have been photographing deaths ever since the Polaroid camera’s invention proved his point.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles County will present its arguments to refute those accusations.
Chester’s attorney, Jerome Jackson, argued that the jury should award the plaintiffs $2.5 million for their pain and suffering over the past two years, and up to $1 million per year for the remainder of their lives. According to his estimates, Chester, who is 48 years old, should receive $30 million, and Vanessa Bryant, who is only 24 years old, should receive $40 million in future damages.
The helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others crashed in January 2020 due to gloomy weather. Bryant was widely considered one of the best professional basketball players of all time, and he spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The trial’s final arguments were delivered on the day when Kobe Bryant would have turned 44 years old.
“We’re asking for justice and accountability on his behalf,”Lavoie told the jurors.
Earlier in the trial, the jury heard that a sheriff’s deputy had shown graphic images from the incident to another deputy while they were were playing “Call of Duty.” In February of 2020, a deputy admitted revealing photos to a bartender, and a firefighter revealed photos on his phone to a small group of people during an awards ceremony.
According to Lavoie, it is impossible to know if the photos were further spread because many of those who shared them deleted them or discarded their phones.
Jackson added that last week, a woman left him a voicemail saying that she had seen or knew where images of the crash scene were, and that someone had a connection and would release them for a charge.
Jackson testified, “It sent a chill down my spine.”
Case number 20-cv-09582 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California is Bryant v. County of Los Angeles (Los Angeles).