Los Angeles County has demanded in a court filing that Vanessa Bryant undergo an independent psychiatric evaluation to prove that the leaked photos of the helicopter crash that killed her husband and their daughter caused emotional distress — the latest development in her lawsuit against the county. Bryant, 39, sued Los Angeles County and its sheriff’s office last year alleging that
County employees “showed off” photos of the crash that killed her husband, the basketball legend Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. They died on Jan. 26, 2020, along with seven other people as they traveled to a basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks, California, where Gianna was supposed to play. Bryant and other family members are seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages from the county.
The county said Friday that it filed the motion because independent exams are “necessary to evaluate the existence, extent and nature of Plaintiffs’ alleged emotional injuries.” The defendants argued that the “severe emotional distress” was caused by the crash and not the sharing of photos. “Plaintiffs cannot claim that they are suffering from ongoing depression, anxiety and severe
Emotional distress and then balk at having to support their claims,” the county said in the motion, adding that the exams are “critical to the county’s defense.” Bryant’s attorneys said the motion was part of the county’s “scorched earth discovery tactics designed to bully Plaintiffs into abandoning their pursuit of accountability.” “Apparently, in the
County’s estimation, top officials should be shielded from providing any testimony, but the victims should not only withstand the emotional toll of a full-day deposition, but also submit to an eight-hour involuntary psychiatric examination simply because they had the audacity to demand accountability,” her attorneys wrote in response. Bryant says in the original complaint that
She expressed concern to the sheriff that the helicopter crash site was unprotected against paparazzi and that she was reassured that law enforcement officers would secure the scene. “Faced with a scene of unimaginable loss, no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies at the crash site pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches,” the suit alleges. “The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification.”