Brother of Pilot Flying Kobe's Copter: It Was Kobe, Gigi's Fault

Berge Zobayan says passengers on brother Ara Zobayan's chopper knew the risks, were negligent
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2020 6:26 AM CDT
Response to Vanessa Bryant Suit: Crash Was Kobe's Fault
In this Dc. 18, 2017, file photo, Kobe Bryant talks during a news conference in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

More than one lawsuit has been filed in the case of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash, but it's his widow's wrongful death complaint that has the brother of the pilot pushing back. CNN reports that on Friday, Berge Zobayan filed a seven-page response to Vanessa Bryant's suit, alleging that "any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent was directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent"—meaning the crash was not the fault of brother Ara Zobayan, who was flying the copter, but of Kobe and 13-year-old Gianna "Gigi" Bryant. The document adds that the passengers on board the helicopter owned by Island Express, which was also named in Vanessa Bryant's suit, knew the risks in taking such a flight, and "that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility."

Berge Zobayan's complaint also requests a jury trial, per People. Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit against Ara Zobayan alleges he was negligent in multiple ways, including by not properly assessing and monitoring the weather—the helicopter crashed on Jan. 26 in bad fog, killing Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and seven others—and not cancelling the flight once he realized how iffy the conditions were. A Los Angeles trial lawyer tells People that Berge Zobayan's response is routine in a wrongful death case like this and is usually filed out of "an abundance of caution" so that all possible future defenses are listed. Two other families have filed lawsuits against Island Express but not Zobayan. Vanessa Bryant, meanwhile, also filed a complaint last week against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after members allegedly took photos of the crash site and shared them, per Yahoo Sports. (More Kobe Bryant stories.)

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