Supes approve $1.25 million settlements with families affected by helicopter crash

Los Angeles County Seal.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved $1.25 million settlements to be given to two families affected by a helicopter crash that killed nine individuals last year – including Kobe Byrant and his daughter Gianna.   

There are four related lawsuits related to the tragic helicopter crash in January 2020 that killed nine individuals of the Byrant, Chester, Mauser and Altobelli families. The crash attracted international attention when the public learned that Bryant and his daughter had died.  

In the aftermath of the crash, allegations that photos from the crash scene had been shared became public knowledge, according to county officials.   

The Mauser and Altobelli plaintiffs claim that members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department improperly took and shared photos of the crash site, including photographs that depicted the remains of their loved ones.  

Plaintiffs allege that Sheriff’s Department and Fire Department personnel violated their constitutional rights to control the death images of their loved ones. Plaintiffs also allege county personnel violated their privacy rights by taking and sharing photos of their loved ones’ remains, and the county is responsible for its employees’ actions.  

According to county officials, the county and the Mauser and Altobelli families reached proposed settlements and needed county supervisors’ approval to finalize the settlements. 

“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,” wrote Rodrigo Castro, the county’s counsel, in a letter addressing the supervisors.  

The supervisors approved the settlements, which will result in the payment of $1.25 million each to the Mauser and Altobelli plaintiffs. The supervisors also instructed the county’s auditor-controller to draw warrants to implement these settlements from the Sheriff’s Department and Fire Department budgets. 

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