Our law firm was honored to represent Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, in her lawsuit for the wrongful death of her husband and daughter Gianna in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26, 2020. Our law firm successfully resolved the case before trial, with all defendants held fully accountable. The confidential settlement was approved in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in November of 2021.
The helicopter involved in the crash was a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter, registration (tail) number N72EX. The flight originated in low cloud cover and heavy fog conditions from the John Wayne-Orange County Airport in Santa Ana, California at 9:06 a.m. with a destination of the Camarillo Airport in Camarillo, California. The flight’s last ATC transmission occurred at 9:45 a.m. The helicopter was owned, operated, and maintained by defendants Island Express Helicopters Inc. and Island Express Holding Corp., a helicopter tour operation that targeted Los Angeles area celebrities. Other defendants in the case included the pilot Ara Zobayan and OC Helicopters which specialized in VIP helicopter charters.
The lawsuit we filed on behalf of Vanessa Bryant maintained that the defendants caused the crash by operating in a negligent, careless, and reckless manner, due to failure to implement proper and reasonable flight safety rules and policies, failure to supply a safe and airworthy helicopter, and failure to implement proper and reasonable flight safety rules and policies or supervise and train their employees. The Island Express defendants’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operating certificate limited its pilots to flying only under visual flight rules (VFR). The subject helicopter was not licensed or certified to be flown into instrument (non-visual) conditions. The pilot-in-command Ara Zobayan was required to fly only in conditions that he could navigate visually. OC Helicopters owner Richard Webb suggested the route for this subject fatal flight, and told pilot Zobayan that the subject fatal flight was a good flight plan. In May of 2015, pilot Zobayan admitted to and was cited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of violating the visual flight rules (VFR) minimums by flying into an airspace of reduced visibility due to weather conditions.
The lawsuit sought damages for the Bryant family’s loss of love, affection, care, society, services, comfort, support, companionship, moral support, and assistance. In addition their Complaint for Damages claimed economic damages from loss of earnings and loss of financial support. The lawsuit also requested punitive damages to punish and deter defendants from future wrongdoing.
Bryant is represented by Kansas City-based Robb & Robb, which specializes in helicopter crashesLEARN MORE
Lawyer for Vanessa Bryant, Gary C. Robb, told NBC News the request to move the trial is meritless. “We believe that this request to transfer venue out of Los Angeles County has no basis in law or fact,” Robb told NBC News in a statement. “We will vigorously oppose it.”LEARN MORE
“Defendant fails to acknowledge the extent to which Kobe Bryant’s legacy penetrates American culture; there is no county line at which Kobe Bryant’s celebrity suddenly evaporates,” Gary C. Robb,the lead attorney for the family, wrote in the filing. “Public esteem for Kobe Bryant is a fact of American life, and Defendant cannot demonstrate, as he must, that there is any county where the basis for his objection –
Mr. Bryant’s popularity – does not exist.”
Vanessa Bryant’s attorney, Gary Robb, issued a statement over the weekend that indicates the legal aftermath of the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old Gianna Bryant and seven others in Calabasas last month could extend into unexpected topics. Robb, a prominent helicopter crash attorney, demands accountability…LEARN MORE
“The terms of the settlement remain confidential. “Plaintiffs and Defendants jointly report that they have agreed to settle their claims in the above-entitled action,” according to the court filing by Gary Robb, one of the nation’s top litigators on helicopter disasters”LEARN MORE
Jury verdict for a deceased pilot (United States record).
Settlement for flight nurse’s severe burn injuries in crash of medical helicopter (United States record).
Jury verdict for a passenger killed in a Life Flight helicopter.
Settlement in Daskal v. Aerospatiale, et al. (severe burn injuries in helicopter crash).
Jury verdict for fatal crash of Bell Medical helicopter (Kentucky record).
Settlement for wrongful death in Life Net helicopter crash (Nebraska record).
Jury Verdict for crash of touring helicopter in Las Vegas.
Settlement for the deaths in air ambulance helicopter crash caused by pilot texting.
Jury verdict in Schlotzhauer v. Bristol, et al (wrongful death in Iowa helicopter crash).
Settlement in Pearson v. Rolls-Royce Corporation, et al (wrongful death of flight nurse in Indiana helicopter crash).