The LA county has been ordered to pay Vanessa Bryant over $23 million worth of damages for emotional distress over shared photos of her dead husband and daughter.
Ms Bryant launched legal action against the LA police and fire departments after first responders on the scene of the 2020 helicopter crash shared graphic photos of Kobe and Gianna’s bodies with their co-workers.
Some of the employees showed photos to their spouses and in one instance to a bartender where an officer was having a drink. On another occasion a deputy shared a photo over text while playing a video game with his friend.
It was alleged by Ms Bryant that the people who shared the photos invaded the families privacy and were negligent. After the 11-day trail it only took the jurors a few hours to rule in favour.
The LA county tried to justify the pictures been taken as a necessity for the investigation and were never shared publicly but admitted that they should never have been distributed amongst employees.
During the trial she testified how distressing it had been knowing people who did not need to see the photos were given access.
“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.”
Chris Chester who joined Ms Bryant in her legal action, was awarded $15 million after a similar incident in which photos of his wife and daughter were also show around unnecessarily.
“We’re grateful for a jury and a judge who gave us a fair trial,” said his lawyer, Jerry Jackson.
An investigation into the January 2020 helicopter crash that killed nine people including NBA great Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna revealed that it was caused by pilot error.