Los Angeles County is asking Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s widow, and other family members to submit psychiatric exams in their legal dispute over photos of the helicopter crash scene that took her husband and daughter’s lives.
The request was made in a court filing on Friday. It stems from a legal point: Did Vanessa Bryant and the others suffer emotional distress because photos of their dead relatives were shared by county fire and sheriff’s department employees after the crash? Or was the emotional distress only from the crash itself?
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L.A. County is contending the crash itself is the cause. Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, died in a January 2020 crash with seven others. Vanessa Bryant is now suing for invasion of privacy and negligence after county employees improperly shared photos of human remains at the crash site.
In the legal documents, L.A. County said Bryant and her family are suing the county for “tens of millions of dollars based solely on their claimed ‘severe emotional distress.’ ” The county contends that its employees did not publicly disseminate any accident site photos.
“Despite putting their mental condition front and center in this case, Plaintiffs refuse to submit to independent medical examinations (IMEs),” the county stated. “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. 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 case is scheduled for trial in February.
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