The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified general and punitive damages, named as defendants Island Express Helicopters, its holding company and the heirs of its pilot, Ara Zobayan, who was one of those who died in the January 26 crash.
According to 2015 records, Zobayan had crossed into airspace by the LAX airport, even though air traffic control denied his request to enter due to low visibility from weather conditions. The FAA said he took responsibility for the violation and underwent counseling. FAA has also said that the pilot was cooperative and receptive to the counselling and was willing to take any step towards its compliance.
An SVFR clearance allows a pilot to fly in weather conditions worse than those allowed for regular visual flight rules.
The crash occurred "as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan for which defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects", the lawsuit said.
The documents were submitted on the same day a public memorial was being held for Kobe Bryant and Gianna at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"One of our helicopters, N72EX, Sikorsky S76, was involved in an accident on Sunday, January 26th in the Calabasas area of LA County".
The copter crashed into the side of a fog-covered hill near Los Angeles, killing everyone on board; federal investigators eliminated an engine failure as a possible cause of the tragedy. It was reported that during the doomed flight, the pilot, Ara Zobayan, had radioed flight control asking to fly by instrument.
"There are not any indications that it is a repeated incident and there are not any indicators that this incident is a pattern with Mr Zobayan, the report stated".
Veteran helicopter pilots were divided over the severity of the FAA violation, the Times reported.
Also cited in the lawsuit from Vanessa Bryant was a reference to a citation issued to Zobayan in 2015 by the FAA over a weather-related issue. It also alleged that the pilot was flying 180 miles per hour in the fog in a decline before it crashed into the side of a hill in Calabasas, California.
Kurt Deetz, a former pilot for Island Express Helicopters, told the newspaper, "You can't request special VFR and then they deny you and you say, "Oh wait a minute, actually I'm VFR", he said. "It shows that perhaps his understanding of special VFR as opposed to VFR was cloudy".