Vanessa Bryant Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Helicopter Operator That Killed Kobe Bryant

Brad Sullivan
2 Min Read

Vanessa Bryant is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that operated the helicopter which crashed on Jan. 26, killing her husband Kobe, their daughter Gianna and seven others.

The litigation connected to the helicopter crash was filed against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp., which employed the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan.

“The complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp. alleged that pilot Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash in Calabasas, failed ‘to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft’ and was ‘negligent,'” wrote Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times.

“‘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 lawsuit said.

“The 27-count complaint seeks general damages, economic damages, punitive damages and more.”

The crash came on the morning of Jan. 26, when Kobe Bryant and the other victims were traveling to a girls basketball tournament. One speculated cause for the crash was directed toward the reduced visibility because of fog.

This past Saturday, it was reported that Zobayan had received a reprimand in 2015 for violating Federal Aviation Administration weather-related rules.

In that instance, Zobayan went into busy airspace near Los Angeles International Airport, causing him to have reduced visibility.

Given the lengthy process for such litigation, it will likely be quite a while before any final verdict is returned.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.