BREAKING: Vanessa Bryant sues helicopter owner as Kobe memorial service takes place in LA
The complaint alleges that pilot Ara Zobayan, who also passed away in the crash, failed “to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft” and that this avoidable tragedy was caused by his negligence
Monday, as celebrities, athletes, loved ones and grieving fans celebrate the lives of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, it’s been confirmed that Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, is suing the owner of the helicopter which crashed and took the lives of her husband, child, and seven other victims.
According to the LA Times, a complaint has been filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp. alleging that pilot Ara Zobayan, who also passed away in the crash, failed “to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft” and that this avoidable tragedy was caused by his negligence.
Bryant’s family believes that instead of flying in cloudy conditions, Zobayan should have instead aborted the flight altogether. As a result, the suit argues the company’s “breach of its duty and negligence” caused injuries and damages and that the death of Bryant was “a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan,” which the company is “vicariously liable in all respects.”
The 27-count complaint also names Zobayan’s estate as a defendant, and in addition to negligence, also accuses Bryant’s longtime pilot of failing to monitor and assess the weather, and failure to keep a safe distance between natural obstacles and the helicopter.
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“On information and belief, Defendant Island Express Helicopters employed Defendant Zobayan with conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others and authorized or ratified his wrong conduct, and itself engaged in conduct with malice, oppression, or fraud,” the complaint states.
It also notes that the company “promoted and engaged in unnecessary and needlessly risky means of transport under the circumstances.”
The lawsuit comes as thousands of mourners attend a televised public memorial service for the Los Angeles Lakers legend, his daughter and the other victims in the same arena where the NBA star played for most of his historic career.