KOBE Bryant's wrongful death trial should be held outside of Los Angeles because a jury there “would not be impartial”, the family of the helicopter pilot claim.
Vanessa Bryant, wife of the LA Lakers' legend, has filed a civil action against the estate of Ara Zobayan – the man who was flying the chopper which crashed into a Californian hillside in January.
Court papers obtained by Sun Online show that Vanessa – who is also suing the helicopter company – is seeking “hundreds of millions” for loss of future earnings after her superstar husband, 41, and her daughter Gianna, 13, died in the fireball.
She is demanding a jury trial however no date has been set.
However, the legal documents show that lawyers for Mr Zobayan's estate intend to request the court case is moved outside of Los Angeles County where Kobe is a sporting icon.
They claim that any jury cannot be “impartial” over the case involving the basketball player who won five NBA Championships with the Lakers.
DEATH OF AN ICON
The doc states: “Defendant Zobayan intends to file a motion to transfer venue to a county outside Los Angeles county on the grounds that an impartial jury cannot be empaneled in Los Angeles Superior Court in this matter.”
Only Vanessa, who is worth $600m, is suing the estate of the pilot while the families of the other seven victims are taking legal action against chopper firm Island Express.
According to CNN, the pilot's brother Berge Zobayan, is listed as successor for his estate.
Last month, it emerged that in previous court docs, his lawyers claimed Kobe and 13-year-old Gianna “knew the risks” when they boarded the helicopter amid foggy weather in Los Angeles.
The legal filings state: "Kobe Bryant and GB [Gianna] had actual knowledge of all of the circumstances, particular dangers, and an appreciation of the risks involved and the magnitude thereof, and proceeded to encounter a known risk, and voluntarily assumed the risk of the accident, injury.
It adds: "thereby barring or reducing [Vanessa's] claim for damages."
Zobayan failed to get weather data and failed to abort the flight even when he learned of the cloudy conditions, it is alleged.
In February, it emerged that Vanessa's suit cites "negligent conduct," claiming Zobayan failed to maintain control of the helicopter and to avoid "natural obstacles" in the flight path of the chopper.
The court documents allege helicopter firm Island Express engaged in reckless transportation that could have been avoided if the necessary safety measures were taken.
It also notes that Zobayan was disciplined five years ago for violating visual flight rules when he flew into airspace with bad visibility.
The lawsuit states that the helicopter was unsafe but according to TMZ, it doesn't specify what exactly was unsafe about the aircraft.
WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT
Island Express had three previous accidents prior to the deadly January crash, according to National Transportation Safety Board records.
Two of those three incidents involved engine failure.
In Kobe's case, the chopper had reportedly been flying at about 184 miles-per-hour in "blinding fog" when it plunged more than 1,000ft in about a minute, crashing in a fireball on a mountainside.
In her court filing, Mrs Bryant alleges that Kobe was “killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of [the pilot] for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects.”
The firm and the pilot, Defendant Zobayan, were described as "wanton, willful, callous, reckless and depraved" in the document.
Island Express reportedly responded in court papers by saying passengers knew the dangers and risks involved with the flight.
The company reportedly stated: "Kobe Bryant and GB [Gigi] had actual knowledge of all of the circumstances, particular dangers, and an appreciation of the risks involved and the magnitude thereof, and proceeded to encounter a known risk, and voluntarily assumed the risk of the accident, injury."
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