Vanessa Bryant will not be forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation as part of her lawsuit against Los Angeles County over leaked photos from the helicopter crash that killed her husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and their daughter Gianna, a judge ruled Monday.
Vanessa Bryant, 39, sued the county and its sheriff's office last year alleging that county employees "showed off" photos of the deadly crash. Kobe Bryant, 41, and Gianna, 13, died 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.
Los Angeles County had demanded in an October court filing that Vanessa Bryant undergo the independent psychiatric evaluation to prove that the leaked photos of the crash caused her emotional distress, claiming the distress was caused by the crash itself — not by the sharing of the photos.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick for the Central District of California ruled this motion “untimely,” rejecting the county’s efforts.
Vanessa Bryant's attorneys had previously said the motion was part of the county's "scorched earth discovery tactics designed to bully Plaintiffs into abandoning their pursuit of accountability."
Vanessa Bryant alleges in the complaint that she had expressed concern to the sheriff that the site was unprotected against paparazzi. It claims she was reassured that law enforcement officers would secure the scene.
The county, meanwhile, argued in vain that if the plaintiffs did suffer emotional distress, they cannot “then balk at having to support their claims.”
The trial is set to begin in early 2022.