*The brother of the pilot that was flying the helicopter that crashed and killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old- daughter Gianna and seven others, has responded to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant.
Berge Zobayan, the brother of pilot Ara George Zobayan, noted in a 7-page response that passengers on the flight knew the risks involved with flying in weather conditions that were reportedly not ideal on that fateful day, CNN reports.
“Any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent, including their knowing and voluntary encounter with the risks involved, and that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility,” the response said, per TMZ.
The outlet also noted:
OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Man Who Shot #AhmaudArbery Footage Says He Fears For His Life, Now Sleeps In Car
The brother of the pilot in the helicopter crash that killed all nine people aboard including NBA legend Kobe Bryant says the passengers had fault and were negligent, according to court papers filed recently https://t.co/yBdG7FyDPW
— CNN (@CNN) May 12, 2020
Zobayan’s response also requests a jury trial, and argues “any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence, fault or wrongful conduct of third parties, whom this answering defendant neither controlled nor had the right to control, and for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility. Said acts or omissions comparatively reduce the percentage of negligence, fault and/or liability, if any of this answering defendant.”
The helicopter crash occurred on January 26 in Calabasas, California, killing Bryant and his daughter, along with John Altobelli, 56, Keri Altobelli, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Sarah Chester, 45, Payton Chester, 13, and Christina Mauser, 38.
Kobe’s widow filed a 72-page wrongful death lawsuit on February 24 against the pilot and Island Express, the company he was employed with.
The suit argues that Zobayan “failed to properly monitor and assess the weather prior to takeoff,” “failed to abort the flight when he knew of the cloudy conditions” and “failed to properly and safely operate the helicopter resulting in a crash.”
According to LA-based trial lawyer Tom Lallas, the response from Zobayan’s legal team is standard, as they are “trying to preserve the right to attribute fault, blame or responsibility to someone else, and that’s just classic insurance defense 101 behavior.”