Here’s where the lawsuits over Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash stand now

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One year after the helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others, numerous lawsuits over the tragedy are slowly making their way through the courts.

At least 10 lawsuits have been filed since the chopper went down Jan. 26, 2020, in Calabasas, Calif., including wrongful deaths suits brought by widow Vanessa Bryant and other victim families — as well as a slew of cases related to deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department allegedly taking unsanctioned cell phone photos of the crash.

Here are all the lawsuits — and where they stand a year later:

Wrongful death suits

On Feb. 24, 2020, less than a month after the crash, Vanessa filed a suit against company Island Express Helicopters, Inc. and the estate of pilot Ara George Zobayan — who also perished in the crash — seeking millions in damages.

The Silorsky S-76B chopper — which was bringing the eight passengers, including 13-year-old Gianna, to Bryant’s facility for a game for the teen’s basketball team — went down into a hillside after flying at 180 miles per hour through thick fog.

Vanessa alleged that Zobayan was negligent for not seeking adequate weather data and not canceling the flight when he learned of the conditions. A rep with Island Express at the time called the incident a “tragic accident” but declined to comment further on pending litigation.

Three other victim families joined Vanessa in filing wrongful death suits in April against Island Express.

The family of former college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa — who was on Gianna’s team — also filed suits. The families of girls basketball coach Christina Mauser and Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter Payton sued as well.

In August, Island Express filed its own counterclaims against two air traffic controllers claiming they made a series of errors that led Zobayan to crash. The Federal Aviation Administration at the time declined to comment on pending litigation.

The wrongful death lawsuits are still pending and have been stalled by a series of procedural issues, including that they were transferred from state to federal court.

Cellphone photos scandal

Meanwhile, Vanessa and the victim families also filed lawsuits alleging that eight deputies in the L.A. County Sheriff’s office took pictures of victims’ remains, as well as the crash site, and then shared them with others. One deputy is even alleged to have shown the graphic pics at a bar in Norwalk.

Vanessa’s September lawsuit alleged the photos were an invasion of privacy and that she lived in fear that she and her kids would one day see the horrific pictures online.

Her suit also criticized the way that L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva allegedly secured the crash site and handled his deputies afterward, merely ordering them to delete the photos in an attempt to “cover up” the scandal.

The situation prompted California to pass legislation in September making it a misdemeanor for first responders to take unauthorized photos of the deceased at crash sites or crime scenes.

Following the suits, the L.A. County Sheriff’s office declined to comment only noting that Villanueva helped to sponsor the legislation.

L.A. fire Captain Tony Imbrenda brought a retaliation lawsuit against L.A. County in November claiming that he was unfairly removed as the fire department spokesman for refusing to turn over his personal cellphone during the photo scandal.

Imbrenda claimed he and colleagues took photos of the scene as part of their jobs, as was routine, and that superiors didn’t tell him it wasn’t allowed nor was there any policy barring photography at emergencies. Still, his resulting demotion cut his pay in half and damaged his career prospects, he claimed.

The cases related to the photo scandal are also pending, but moving slightly faster than the wrongful death litigation — with evidence exchanges already underway between the parties.

Separately, Vanessa was sued by her own mother Sofia Laine in December.

Laine claimed that the former L.A. Lakers star had promised to take care of her indefinitely, but after his death, Vanessa didn’t hold up that commitment and even told her mom to move out of the home that Kobe let her live in.

Vanessa alleged the suit was an attempt to “extort” her family.

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