Five months after the tragic accident that took the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people, the legal response from the helicopter pilot’s lawyer to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant has caused quite a stir.
According to documents obtained by CNN, the lawyers of Berge Zobayan - brother and successor in interest of deseased pilot Ara Zobayan - the passengers all knew the risks before boarding the flight.
“Any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent, including their knowing and voluntary encounter with the risks involved,” reads part of the seven page document obtained by the media group.
Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit
The document is a response to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow. She claims that Ara Zobayan “failed to properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff,” “failed to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions” and, “failed to properly and safely operate the helicopter resulting in a crash.”
However the latest document states that the passengers were aware of the risks: “and that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility.”
The world was left stunned after the January 26 accident in which not only did the basketball star, Kobe and daughter Gianna, 13, lose their lives but also John Altobelli, 56, Keri Altobelli, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Sarah Chester, 45, Payton Chester, 13, Christina Mauser, 38 and the pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.
Vanessa, 38, filed her wrongful death lawsuit against Ara Zobayan and Island Express Helicopters, the helicopter company that owned the aircraft, on February 24 – the day of the homage to her husband and daughter at the Staples Center.