Co-plaintiff in Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit against L.A. County reaches nearly $20 million settlement

The co-plaintiff in Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit against Los Angeles County over the horrific photos taken from the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, their daughter Gianna and seven others in 2020 reached a nearly $20 million settlement on Tuesday, according to USA Today’s Brent Schrotenboer.

Los Angeles County agreed to pay Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter died in the crash, $19.95 million. Vanessa has yet to settle with the county, but both she and Chester were awarded $15 million by a jury last month in the trial.

The nearly $20 million settlement covers that initial $15 million.

“We believe the $19,950,000 settlement with the Chester family is fair and reasonable to all concerned,” Los Angeles County’s attorney, Mira Hashmall, said in a statement, via USA Today. “This amount includes the $15 million verdict awarded to Mr. Chester by the federal jury and resolves all outstanding issues relating to the pending state claims, future claims by the Chester children, attorneys’ fees, and costs. We sincerely hope this settlement will help Mr. Chester and his children move forward with their lives.”

Two other families each filed similar lawsuits, but settled with the county for $1.25 million.

Vanessa and Chester were both awarded $15 million after a jury unanimously found Los Angeles County liable after deputies took or shared graphic and gruesome photos from the crash site without reason. Sheriff Alex Villanueva kept the photos hidden until a complaint was filed, too.

Vanessa said in court that she suffered panic attacks after learning of the photos’ existence.

Vanessa has yet to settle with the county over the issue, but she said that she will donate the money to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation — which was renamed after the crash to honor Kobe and Gianna. The foundation helps to provide funding and sports programming to underserved athletes.

Vanessa Bryant
Vanessa Bryant's co-plaintiff, Chris Chester — whose wife and daughter were killed in the crash — reached a $19.95 million settlement with Los Angeles County on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)