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Vanessa Bryant’s award over leaked crash photos reduced by $1M after error discovered – Boston 25 News

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LOS ANGELES — The $16 million verdict awarded to Vanessa Bryant by a federal jury on Wednesday will be reduced by $1 million after a juror discovered an error on the verdict and informed the court, USA Today reported.

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Vanessa Bryant, the widow of basketball Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, was awarded the damages in her lawsuit against Los Angeles County by a California jury over photographs taken at the scene of the helicopter crash that took the life of the former Lakers star, his daughter and seven other people.

“It was the nine jurors’ intent that both plaintiffs Vanessa Bryant and Christopher Chester to be awarded equally,” U.S. District Judge John F. Walter said in court on Friday, according to USA Today.

The issue was not about the actual photographs. The plaintiffs accused the county’s sheriff and fire department employees of sharing and displaying gruesome photos from the crash scene without a legitimate reason to do so, the newspaper reported.

The nine-member jury unanimously found Los Angeles County liable to her and fellow plaintiff, Christopher Chester, for the graphic photos sheriff’s deputies and firefighters took of the Jan. 26, 2020, helicopter crash scene, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Attorneys for Vanessa Bryant and Chester argued that the photographs had violated their clients’ right to privacy and inflicted emotional distress. Chester lost his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Payton, in the crash, according to the newspaper.

Vanessa Bryant agreed to the change. Her attorney, Luis Li, said in court Friday that Bryant believed it was a “just result” that she received the same amount as Chester.

Jurors deliberated 4 1/2 hours after the 11-day trial, the Times reported.

An attorney for Los Angeles County declined to comment on the verdict, according to The Associated Press.

Attorneys for Los Angeles County argued that there were legitimate reasons for first responders to take and receive the photos, including to help determine the size of the crash site and decide what resources were needed, the Times reported. The images, they said, were never published online or in the media — nor were they seen by the victims’ families because of swift work by the sheriff’s office and fire leaders in halting the spread of their circulation.

“This is the pictures case, and there are no pictures,” Mira Hashmall, an attorney representing the county, said during closing arguments.



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