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ph90702

Vanessa Bryant Suing Pilot

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3 hours ago, Rev McQuervo said:

Who was his employer?

Island Express Helicoptors.

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Vanessa Bryant says heavy fog and low clouds prompted law enforcement agencies and tour companies to ground their helicopters, but the pilot requested special clearance from air traffic control to keep flying. She says Island Express' FAA operating certificate barred pilots from flying under such conditions and that Zobayan had previously been cited by the FAA for violating the rules. 

Bryant argues Helicopter Express is liable for Zobayan's "negligent and careless piloting" and knew or should have known about his previous citation from the FAA and that the company didn't have an adequate safety policy for the cancellation of flights due to unsafe weather conditions. 

The suit claims Zobayan failed to properly monitor the weather prior to the flight, failed to abort the flight when he became aware of the conditions, improperly flew the helicopter into conditions under which he couldn't navigate by sight, failed to avoid natural obstacles and failed to properly and safely operate the helicopter. 

Bryant is suing for unspecified general, economic and punitive damages. Her legal team is led by Brad D. Brian of Munger, Tolles & Olson and Gary C. Robb of Robb & Robb.

 

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I'll give my two cents to this as an attorney.  First, it is very common for a suit like this to name as many parties as possible.  It is far easier to name too many parties and trim the list as you get closer to trial than it is to name too few and try to add new parties as you get closer to trial. 

Also, just because the pilot's estate is being named, does not mean it will necessarily pay out.  The primary target here is almost certainly the helicopter company's insurance policy.  I would imagine they have a very high-limit insurance policy based on the dangerous nature of the business and the company will probably end up paying policy limits.  A wrongful death suit seeks to recover the future income a person would have made and even though Kobe's basketball career was over he was still probably going to make hundreds of millions of dollars.  My guess is the attorneys are getting in to litigation quickly so they can get their hands on a copy of the helicopter company's insurance policy and make a demand for policy limits.

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this seems similar to a medical malpractice suit.  The intent of suing isn't necessarily only about the money, but also to raise awareness about how critical certain skills are for various professions. 

I doubt Vanessa is all that interested in the money, but its the only way left to punish for supposed negligent behavior.

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4 minutes ago, Del Scorcho said:

this seems similar to a medical malpractice suit.  The intent of suing isn't necessarily only about the money, but also to raise awareness about how critical certain skills are for various professions. 

I doubt Vanessa is all that interested in the money, but its the only way left to punish for supposed negligent behavior.

I don't think so.  Given Kobe Bryant's potential future earnings, had his life not been cut short, this suit is likely very much about the money.

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17 minutes ago, Del Scorcho said:

this seems similar to a medical malpractice suit.  The intent of suing isn't necessarily only about the money, but also to raise awareness about how critical certain skills are for various professions. 

I doubt Vanessa is all that interested in the money, but its the only way left to punish for supposed negligent behavior.

Ditto, if you had relatives die like this, you would also want this to never happen again to anyone else.

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1 minute ago, WAC_FAN said:

Ditto, if you had relatives die like this, you would also want this to never happen again to anyone else.

A suit is not going to prevent a future similar occurrence, or bring Kobe and her daughter back. And Vanessa Bryant obviously doesn’t need the money. It comes across as revenge to me and I can’t blame her. Or some lawyer(s) got ahold of her and convinced her it’s the right thing to do. 

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19 minutes ago, soupslam1 said:

A suit is not going to prevent a future similar occurrence, or bring Kobe and her daughter back. And Vanessa Bryant obviously doesn’t need the money. It comes across as revenge to me and I can’t blame her. Or some lawyer(s) got ahold of her and convinced her it’s the right thing to do. 

I believe that the law would probably disagree as to Vanessa Bryant's motive being 'revenge'.  There are at least two additional non-monetary reasons why it makes  sense to me:

1) Perhaps someone can confirm this - but I am guessing that Vanessa Bryant is the Personal Representative of the Estate of Kobe Bryant, deceased, likely having been named such in the Last Will of Kobe Bryant.  A personal representative owes a 'fiduciary obligation' to all devisees or heirs entitled to assets of the Estate.  Assets of the Estate include outstanding legal claims against third parties.  Potential heirs/devisees would likely include the kids and perhaps other persons as well (such as Kobe Bryant's extended family members).  If Vanessa did not go after this money, she could potentially be in breach of a fiduciary obligation owed to these other persons.

2) Kobe Bryant's estate has a ton of money, and, therefore it is a likely target of the families of the other 7 deceased members for monetary recovery.  If Vanessa Bryant can get a finding or acknowledgement of negligence on behalf of the company, this would make any suit against Kobe Bryant's estate more difficult.

 

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13 minutes ago, OrediggerPoke said:

I believe that the law would probably disagree as to Vanessa Bryant's motive being 'revenge'.  There are at least two additional non-monetary reasons why it makes  sense to me:

1) Perhaps someone can confirm this - but I am guessing that Vanessa Bryant is the Personal Representative of the Estate of Kobe Bryant, deceased, likely having been named such in the Last Will of Kobe Bryant.  A personal representative owes a 'fiduciary obligation' to all devisees or heirs entitled to assets of the Estate.  Assets of the Estate include outstanding legal claims against third parties.  Potential heirs/devisees would likely include the kids and perhaps other persons as well (such as Kobe Bryant's extended family members).  If Vanessa did not go after this money, she could potentially be in breach of a fiduciary obligation owed to these other persons.

2) Kobe Bryant's estate has a ton of money, and, therefore it is a likely target of the families of the other 7 deceased members for monetary recovery.  If Vanessa Bryant can get a finding or acknowledgement of negligence on behalf of the company, this would make any suit against Kobe Bryant's estate more difficult.

 

Spoken like a true lawyer. 

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I’m no lawyer, but I believe there is a legal theory that if something is extremely dangerous, you bear responsibility.  An example would be people who use motorcycles such as Evel Knievel.  There’s no way he could sue the motorcycle company because what he did is extremely dangerous.

I would imagine that the defense could say the same thing about flying the helicopter in this situation.

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4 minutes ago, ph90702 said:

I’m no lawyer, but I believe there is a legal theory that if something is extremely dangerous, you bear responsibility.  An example would be people who use motorcycles such as Evel Knievel.  There’s no way he could sue the motorcycle company because what he did is extremely dangerous.

I would imagine that the defense could say the same thing about flying the helicopter in this situation.

The assumption of risk doctrine finds that in certain situations a person who is engaged in inherently dangerous activities assumes the risk of the activity (a common example is skiing and the risk of breaking a leg - typically a bar to a suit against the ski resort).  I am not aware of caselaw out there indicating that one who chooses to be a passenger in a helicopter assumes the risk that the helicopter will crash resulting in their death.

 

 

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17 hours ago, ridgeview2 said:

I just don't want to find out that the pilot said it was unsafe, but Kobe pressured him into doing it anyways. 

This was always my presumption from day 1 on this. Why would the pilot be pushing to fly in an uncomfortable situation that risks his life and everyone on board?

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1 hour ago, OrediggerPoke said:

I believe that the law would probably disagree as to Vanessa Bryant's motive being 'revenge'.  There are at least two additional non-monetary reasons why it makes  sense to me:

1) Perhaps someone can confirm this - but I am guessing that Vanessa Bryant is the Personal Representative of the Estate of Kobe Bryant, deceased, likely having been named such in the Last Will of Kobe Bryant.  A personal representative owes a 'fiduciary obligation' to all devisees or heirs entitled to assets of the Estate.  Assets of the Estate include outstanding legal claims against third parties.  Potential heirs/devisees would likely include the kids and perhaps other persons as well (such as Kobe Bryant's extended family members).  If Vanessa did not go after this money, she could potentially be in breach of a fiduciary obligation owed to these other persons.

2) Kobe Bryant's estate has a ton of money, and, therefore it is a likely target of the families of the other 7 deceased members for monetary recovery.  If Vanessa Bryant can get a finding or acknowledgement of negligence on behalf of the company, this would make any suit against Kobe Bryant's estate more difficult.

 

I would be surprised if Vanessa Bryant is the executrix for several reasons.  First, if Kobe used a will and not a trust he desperately needed new attorneys.  With the sheer volume of assets he had he should have been using trusts, LLCs, and more advanced asset protection strategies.  Second, even if Kobe had a will, I would imagine his estate would be administered by a professional.  No offense meant to Vanessa, but appointing a trusted associate with financial savvy would be far more effective than having his wife do it.

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1 hour ago, HoosierRebel said:

I would be surprised if Vanessa Bryant is the executrix for several reasons.  First, if Kobe used a will and not a trust he desperately needed new attorneys.  With the sheer volume of assets he had he should have been using trusts, LLCs, and more advanced asset protection strategies.  Second, even if Kobe had a will, I would imagine his estate would be administered by a professional.  No offense meant to Vanessa, but appointing a trusted associate with financial savvy would be far more effective than having his wife do it.

Good insight.

 

You could be right as to the appointment of Vanessa under the terms of the Will.  Although even people of substantial worth often appoint their spouses to serve as executor.  It isn't like Vanessa would be handling all of the Personal Representative duties on her own as she would have multiple attorneys and CPAs assisting.  However, I'd pretty much guarantee that Kobe has a Will along with probably multiple trusts. The Will would take care of property that is acquired at or after death that was never held by the Trusts (i.e. assets such as claims against 3rd parties).  Now the Will might (and probably is) be a pourover Will whereby the beneficiary under the Will is actually a Trust or combination of Trusts.  The Trustee of those trusts may or may not be Vanessa.

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2 hours ago, OrediggerPoke said:

The assumption of risk doctrine finds that in certain situations a person who is engaged in inherently dangerous activities assumes the risk of the activity (a common example is skiing and the risk of breaking a leg - typically a bar to a suit against the ski resort).  I am not aware of caselaw out there indicating that one who chooses to be a passenger in a helicopter assumes the risk that the helicopter will crash resulting in their death.

Flying in a helicopter itself shouldn’t meet the standard.  However, when it’s so foggy that his primary pilot told him it’s too dangerous to fly, then I think it should.

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2 hours ago, OrediggerPoke said:

The assumption of risk doctrine finds that in certain situations a person who is engaged in inherently dangerous activities assumes the risk of the activity (a common example is skiing and the risk of breaking a leg - typically a bar to a suit against the ski resort).  I am not aware of caselaw out there indicating that one who chooses to be a passenger in a helicopter assumes the risk that the helicopter will crash resulting in their death.

 

 

Here's an example of  a waiver you're required to sign for heli-skiing:

https://purcellheliskiing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/waiver_english_2009_2.pdf

In Canada, it completely indemnifies the company of all liability regardless of negligence.

Fortunately, the Canadian courts have always upheld this "Release agreement", otherwise I'm sure the cost would be much more than it already is.

 

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4 hours ago, Del Scorcho said:

I doubt Vanessa is all that interested in the money, but its the only way left to punish for supposed negligent behavior.

I would submit she's being giving advice from highly regarded ambulance chasers.

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40 minutes ago, OrediggerPoke said:

Good insight.

 

You could be right as to the appointment of Vanessa under the terms of the Will.  Although even people of substantial worth often appoint their spouses to serve as executor.  It isn't like Vanessa would be handling all of the Personal Representative duties on her own as she would have multiple attorneys and CPAs assisting.  However, I'd pretty much guarantee that Kobe has a Will along with probably multiple trusts. The Will would take care of property that is acquired at or after death that was never held by the Trusts (i.e. assets such as claims against 3rd parties).  Now the Will might (and probably is) be a pourover Will whereby the beneficiary under the Will is actually a Trust or combination of Trusts.  The Trustee of those trusts may or may not be Vanessa.

A pourover will certainly makes sense. And, chances are, administering a pourover will probably wouldn't be that difficult.

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1 hour ago, HoosierRebel said:

A pourover will certainly makes sense. And, chances are, administering a pourover will probably wouldn't be that difficult.

It can be very difficult and isn’t my cup of tea...especially when dealing with creditor claims (such as pending lawsuits) and estate tax filings.  

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7 hours ago, OrediggerPoke said:

I don't think so.  Given Kobe Bryant's potential future earnings, had his life not been cut short, this suit is likely very much about the money.

600 million.

 

 

That was Bryant's estimated net worth.

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