Along with Bryant, Chris Chester, a financial adviser who lost his wife and daughter in the same crash, was separately awarded $15 million by the same jury.
The outcome of a civil case regarding photos of the helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna, and seven others on January 26, 2020, has come in favor of Vanessa Bryant.
The late NBA player's widow has been awarded $16 million by a federal jury on August 24, 2022, after an 11-day trial, according to USA Today. Along with Bryant, Chris Chester, a financial adviser who lost his wife and daughter in the same crash, was separately awarded $15 million by the same jury.
Bryant filed a lawsuit after the first responders used their personal phones to take and circulate pictures of the crash and the human remains from the site even though they had no reason to do so.
During the trial, the jury came to the conclusion that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) and Fire Department (LAFD) did share images of the remains of Bryant and Chester's loved ones, thus invading their privacy and resulting in emotional distress.
Lawyers for both Bryant and Chester claimed that after learning that county employees had taken photos of the human remains on their smartphones as "souvenirs" and shared them with coworkers and the general public, both plaintiffs experienced excessive emotional stress, reports CNBC.
The jury ordered the LASD to pay Bryant $10 million and Chester a total of $9 million. Meanwhile, the LAFD has been ordered to pay the pair $6 million each, per PEOPLE.
While the closing arguments began on August 23, 2022, on what would have been Kobe's 44th birth anniversary, the verdict was announced on August 24, which coincides with Kobe Bryant Day (8/24) in Los Angeles, representing the jersey numbers the NBA legend wore during his 20-year career with the Lakers.
"All for you! I love you!" Vanessa Bryant captioned a photo of herself, Kobe Bryant, and their daughter Gianna all smiling. "JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi! 8•24•22" She added the hashtags #Betonyourself and #MambaDay.
After the outcome, Bryant and Chester's lawyers did not speak outside the court. However, Mira Hashmall, a partner at Miller Barondess law firm and the lead outside counsel for the county, thanked the jury for its hard work.
"While we disagree with the jury's findings as to the county's liability, we believe the monetary award shows that jurors didn't believe the evidence supported the plaintiffs' requests for $75 million for emotional distress," Hashmall said in a statement.
"We will be discussing next steps with our client," she said. "Meanwhile, we hope the Bryant and Chester families continue to heal from their tragic loss."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Emma McIntyre