Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, is suing the owner of the helicopter that crashed last month, killing her husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Kobe Bryant, Gianna and seven others died when the helicopter they were in crashed in fog on January 26.
In the lawsuit, Vanessa Bryant says the pilot was negligent for flying in such poor weather.
The lawsuit was filed shortly before a memorial service held in Los Angeles.
It says that Island Express Helicopters and the pilot, Ara George Zobayan, had a “duty to use that degree of care that an ordinarily careful and prudent pilot would use under the same or similar circumstances”.
The lawsuit alleges that the pilot – who died in the crash – did not assess weather data before taking off.
It also says the pilot did not abort the flight despite the treacherous conditions.
Island Express Helicopters authorized the flight “with full knowledge that the subject helicopter was flying into unsafe weather conditions”, the complaint says.
Vanessa Bryant is seeking undisclosed compensatory and punitive damages.
The company has suspended operations.
The aircraft – a Sikorsky S-76B – went down into a hillside outside the city of Calabasas.
Conditions were foggy when the flight took off, and local police had grounded their helicopters due to the poor weather.
The pilot asked air traffic controllers for a special clearance, known as Special Visual Flight Rules, to fly in less than optimal weather, said NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy, who went to the crash scene to collect evidence.
The helicopter, she added, circled in the air for 12 minutes before being given the clearance. The pilot then asked controllers for “flight following”, an assistance given to helicopters to avoid collisions, but was told the craft was too low to be picked up by radar.
Minutes later, the pilot said he was “climbing to avoid a cloud layer”, she added. The helicopter climbed and began a left descending turn, according to radar data, before communication was lost. All those on board were killed.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant were remembered in a “Celebration of Life” memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 24.
Beyoncé opened the service with her 2013 hit XO, which she said was one of Kobe Bryant’s favorite songs.
Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Bryant’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal were among those attending.
The Staples Center was Kobe Bryant’s home arena for much of his 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Speaking at the event, Vanessa Bryant said of her husband: “He was mine. He was my everything,” and called her daughter Gianna an “amazingly sweet and gentle soul” whose smile took up her entire face.
Island Express Helicopters was limited to operating when the pilot was able to see clearly while flying.