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Kobe Bryant’s former Mamba Sports Academy–which dropped the “Mamba” from its name out of respect for the late basketball legend following his death–is suing the helicopter company involved in the fatal crash that took his life two years ago.

Mamba Sports Academy To Change Name to The Sports Academy

Source: Maxx Wolfson / Getty

According to court documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Sports Academy recently filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters for compensation and burial expenses for one of its late coaches, Christina Mauser, accusing them of being partly responsible for the deadly crash on January 26, 2020. The crash also took the lives of the Lakers legend, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, and six other passengers, in addition to Mauser.

“During the course and scope of her employment with The Academy, [Mauser] was injured by Island Express, who negligently caused the conditions which fatally injured her and ultimately resulted in her death,” the newly filed lawsuit states.

Sports Academy goes on to claim that Island Express Helicopters was “negligent and careless” in this particular case and are therefore “obligated to pay death benefits and burial expenses pursuant to the worker’s compensation provisions of the Labor Code of the State of California, which sums have been paid to Mauser’s heirs.”

In the documents, Sports Academy claims that $127,000 has already been paid out to Mauser’s surviving family members, including Christina’s widower, Matt, and their daughter, Penny.

There have already been multiple different lawsuits filed by the surviving members of the passengers’ families against Los Angeles County in connection to the crash, including the alleged taking and sharing of photos from the 2020 crash site. On November 2, 2021, Los Angeles County settled with Matt Mauser and J. J. and Alexis Altobelli for $1.25 million each.

Mauser and the Altobelli siblings –whose parents John and Keri and sister Alyssa were passengers on the helicopter– reportedly filed their own separate federal lawsuits against L.A. County claiming they suffered traumatic emotional distress after news outlet revealed that the L.A. County’s sheriff’s deputies and firefighters took photos of the crash’s aftermath.

Though L.A. County decided to settle with the Mauser and Altobelli families, Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant was not willing to settle, sending a clear message that she wouldn’t rest until her case was brought to court. The trial between L.A. County and Vanessa Bryant is reportedly scheduled for February 22.


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