Los Angeles County Argues Man Whose Wife And Daughter Died In Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Shouldn't Ride ‘Coattails' Of Vanessa's Lawsuit

Kobe Bryant on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
(Image credit: ABC)

Over two years after Kobe Bryant’s death, his wife finds herself in the midst of a legal battle connected to the tragic accident that took the lives of her husband and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. Vanessa Bryant filed suit in November 2021 over the sharing of photographs from the helicopter crash. As the legal proceedings continue, a new development has recently arisen that pertains to another case connected to the fatal crash. Los Angeles County argues that a man whose wife and daughter were among the nine killed in the incident cannot “ride Bryant’s coattails.”

The person in question is Christopher Chester who, like Vanessa Bryant, sued Los Angeles County for the sharing of graphic photos from the scene of the accident. Both allege that the images were taken and circulated by the first responders that arrived on the scene. The county has since stated that photos were indeed taken but that they were not distributed to the public. This week, the county filed a motion to keep the two suits from being consolidated, according to Law & Crime. It argues that while their cases “arise from the same tragic incident” they possess enough differences that “consolidating them for trial would create jury confusion and risk a fair trial.” The motion also reads:

Given Kobe Bryant’s worldwide recognition, Bryant’s case is distinct. Chester should not be permitted to ride Bryant’s coattails and benefit from critical evidence that only pertains to Bryant. Chester has shown his propensity to do this in nearly every pretrial filing and again at the July 8 pretrial conference.

To make its case, LA County also referred to a pretrial conference that involved Christopher Chester’s lawyer. Apparently, when asked if there was evidence that the photos of the man’s wife and daughter were disseminated, “Chester’s lawyer dissembled” and “conflated the evidence in the two cases.” Per the motion, such an action exemplifies “substantial prejudice” that could be aimed at the county should the two cases be consolidated.

The motion also refers to this as “a most unusual case,” given the fact that “Kobe Bryant was a revered icon,” which is certainly the truth. In the aftermath of the 2020 crash, numerous people shared tributes and even purchased plenty of Bryant-related memorabilia. ESPN’s The Last Dance even saluted Bryant in an episode. One year after his passing, Jimmy Fallon and more shared touching tributes, while his former teammate Shaquille O’Neal marked the anniversary by checking on Bryant’s parents. 

Vanessa Bryant has seemingly been doing everything that she can to keep her husband and daughter’s memory alive. Last year, Bryant posted a tender message on her husband’s birthday and, shortly after his death, she shared a sweet story about the late athlete that involved the dress from The Notebook.

At present, it would seem that Vaness Bryant, whose legal team was recently scolded for presenting too much evidence in a pretrial hearing, is moving full steam ahead with her lawsuit. And now, due to this latest development, it looks like it’ll be moving forward separately from Christopher Chester’s. Aside from Chester and Bryant, two other families also filed suit against LA County and have since settled. Only time will tell how things will play out for the two cases that are still in motion.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.