LA County settles for $2.5M with family members of two killed in Kobe Bryant crash

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved a $2.5 million settlement with the family members of two of the victims of the helicopter crash that also killed Kobe Bryant.

The county on Tuesday agreed to pay Matthew Mauser — whose wife Christine was killed in the crash — $1.25 million, and it approved for siblings J.J. Altobelli and Alexis Altobelli — whose mother Kerri, father John and younger sister Alyssa were all killed in the crash — to share a $1.25 million payment, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Mauser and the Altobellis separately sued Los Angeles County following the crash, writing that they underwent emotional distress after the Times discovered that sheriff deputies and firefighters with the county took photos from the crash scene and later shared them for purposes that were not related to their work, according to the newspaper.

Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA star Kobe Bryant whose 13-year-old daughter Gianna also died in the crash, has filed a similar lawsuit. In a deposition last month, Vanessa claimed that Sheriff Alex Villanueva promised to her that no officials at the scene would take photos of her family, the Times reported.

Family members of crash victims Sarah Chester and Payton, her 13-year-old daughter, filed lawsuits against the county in connection to the photographs that were taken at the crash scene, according to the Times, alleging emotional stress.

Los Angeles County’s counsel recommended that it settle with the Mausers and Altobellis in a report from last week.

“Given the risks and uncertainties of litigation, as well as the tragic accident giving rise to the lawsuits, fair and reasonable settlements at this time will avoid further litigation costs; therefore, full and final settlements of the two cases are warranted,” the report reads, according to the newspaper.

Los Angeles County reportedly allocated an estimated $1.29 million to legal costs for the two cases.

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The case involving Bryant’s helicopter crash made headlines last month when court documents revealed that Vanessa Bryant and other plaintiffs may be compelled to take a psychiatric exam to determine if the emotional distress they were alleging was caused by leaked photos of the crash.

On Monday, however, a federal magistrate reportedly determined that the county cannot order her and another plaintiff to take the exam before the trial, which is set to begin in February.


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