Vanessa Bryant was awarded $16 million in damages in her lawsuit against Los Angeles County in a verdict announced on Aug. 24, per the Los Angeles Times. Her coplaintiff, Christopher Chester, was also awarded $15 million.
Vanessa and Chester had sued the county for emotional distress and mental anguish, alleging that emergency personnel shared graphic images from the helicopter crash that killed Vanessa’s late husband, Kobe Bryant, and the couple’s daughter Gianna, as well as Chester’s late wife, Sarah, and their 13-year-old daughter, Payton. The jury found that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Fire Department officials had shared the photos of Vanessa and Chester’s deceased loved ones directly following the crash in situations including a cocktail hour and at a bar.
Last week, Vanessa took the stand for the first time in the case and opened up about when she initially learned of the images being shared with unauthorized people. ” . . . I broke down and cried and I just wanted to run down the block and scream,” she testified, according to People. “I can’t escape my body. I can’t escape what I feel.”
Vanessa celebrated the victory on Instagram, sharing a photo of herself with Kobe and Gigi. “All for you! I love you! JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi! #Betonyourself #MambaDay 8•24•22,” she wrote. The day of the verdict had previously been named Kobe Bryant Day in Los Angeles to mark the former Los Angeles Laker’s two jersey numbers during his NBA career: eight and 24.