The Los Angeles County has requested Vanessa Bryant and her family members to take psychiatric exams. The county wants the family to prove that they suffered distress after Kobe Bryant’s crash photos were leaked, USA Today reported.
Vanessa is in an ongoing legal battle with Los Angeles County. The late basketball player’s wife filed a lawsuit last year. She claims that the county spread photos of Kobe’s crash that caused her extreme distress. The tragic site photos were allegedly shared with “other government personnel and a bartender.”
The lawsuit also notes that a cop was trying to impress a woman at the bar by showing off photos of the crash. Other deputies snapped pictures on their personal cell phones. Vanessa is suing for negligence and invasion of privacy. She believes that the deputies involved in the incident captured and used the photos for personal gratification, U.S. Sun reported.
In a court filing Friday (October 15), the county notes that Vanessa and other family members involved in the legal dispute are suing the Los Angeles County for “tens of millions of dollars based solely on their claimed ‘severe emotional distress.’ ”
The county revealed that the photos were not shared publicly. They also believe that any sign of distress was not caused by the action of county employees. Instead, the county argues that the distress is caused by the actual helicopter crash. In January 2020, Kobe and his 13-year-old year daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash with seven other people. The county is requesting psychiatric exams to determine the level of distress that’s claimed in the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs cannot claim that they are suffering from ongoing depression, anxiety, and severe emotional distress,” Los Angeles County states. “And then balk at having to support their claims.”
“Despite putting their mental condition front and center in this case, Plaintiffs refuse to submit to independent medical examinations (IMEs),” Los Angeles County stated, according to USA Today. “The County brings this motion to compel IMEs of the Plaintiffs, which are necessary to evaluate the existence, extent and nature of Plaintiffs’ alleged emotional injuries.”
Vanessa’s lawyers are fighting back.
“Unable to defend the indefensible conduct of its employees who took and shared horrific photographs of Plaintiffs’ deceased loved ones. … the County has resorted to scorched-earth discovery tactics designed to bully Plaintiffs into abandoning their pursuit of accountability,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys stated.
They added, “Adding insult to injury, the County is making this demand while simultaneously refusing to make two of its key witnesses … available for a routine deposition. 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 for Defendants’ disrespect of the dead and callous intrusion upon their private grief.”
Last year, Vanessa won her case against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. The county initially refused to reveal the names of the deputies involved.
As this case intensifies, Byant’s attorneys plan to let the judge decide the appropriate actions to take next.