Vanessa Bryant is taking legal action against the company that owned the helicopter that crashed into a California hillside on Jan. 26, killing her husband, former NBA star Kobe Bryant, their daughter Gianna; and seven others.
On Monday, Feb. 24, she filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters, making claims against the company and the pilot of the doomed flight.
Investigators are still working to determine the exact cause of the accident — and it could take at least a year before they figure it out. Many believed the weather might have contributed to it, as the helicopter was traveling in foggy conditions.
Pilot Ara Zobayan, in his last transmission, told air traffic controllers that he was going to try to clear a cloud layer. Moments later, the helicopter crashed into a hillside and sparked a fire.
The lawsuit was filed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court just before a public memorial for the victims of the crash. It accuses Island Express Helicopters of negligence by allegedly allowing the helicopter to fly in unsafe conditions.
The lawsuit also says the company is liable for Zobayan’s alleged actions, including “negligent and careless piloting,”
It says that Zobayan, an experienced pilot who frequently traveled with Bryant, allegedly failed to properly assess the weather and failed to ground the helicopter when he knew of the foggy conditions.
The lawsuit goes on to say that Zobayan allegedly flew in conditions he was not cleared for and failed to keep a safe distance between the helicopter and natural obstacles.
The lawsuit seeks an unspecified dollar amount; Vanessa Bryant is seeking punitive damages, which could amount to millions.
A spokesperson for Island Express Helicopters later shared a statement with TMZ that said: “This was a tragic accident. We will have no comment on the pending litigation.”