As thousands gather in the Staples Center right now for Kobe Bryant’s official memorial and an opening song by Beyoncé, the basketball legend and Oscar winner’s widow is suing the company that owned the chopper that fatally crashed on January 26.
“Defendant Island Express Helicopters authorized, directed and/or permitted with full knowledge that the subject helicopter was flying into unsafe weather conditions,” says the wrongful death and negligence complaint from Vanessa Bryant just filed in Los Angeles Superior Court this morning (read it here).
“Defendant Island Express Helicopters’ breach of its duty and negligence caused the injuries and damages complained of herein and Plaintiffs’ deceased, Kobe Bryant, was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects,” the jury seeking 27-claim document adds.
Along with the recently retired Los Angeles Laker star, his teen daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in the Calabasas chopper crash late last month. Among those who died in the dense fog that day pilot was Ara Zobayan, who frequently stewarded the Bryants.
Seeking unspecified and various damages, the suit claims the “negligent” Zobayan did not “use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft.” Back in 2015, Zobayan was scolded by the FAA for cruising around flight rules. As well as deciding to fly despite rules on taking to the sky in bad weather, the Federal Aviation Administration cited the pilot five years ago for ignoring an air traffic controller’s directive to avoid LAX’s airspace.
Vanessa Bryant is represented by attorneys Brad Brian of Munger, Tolles & Olson and Robb & Robb’s Gary Robb