LA officials want Kobe Bryant’s widow to take a psychiatric exam as part of legal battle, report says

Vanessa Bryant’s legal team describes motion as ‘scorched earth discovery tactics’

Shweta Sharma
Tuesday 19 October 2021 05:30
Comments
Kobe Bryant: 911 calls from helicopter crash released
Leer en Español

Vanessa Bryant should undergo a psychiatric evaluation of the emotional distress she faced after the death of her husband Kobe Bryant, said Los Angeles county officials, amid an ongoing lawsuit filed by her.

Ms Bryant is fighting a legal battle against the city’s officials over leaked photos of the tragic 2020 helicopter crash that killed the NBA superstar and their 13-year-old daughter.

The county argued on Friday that Ms Bryant and other plaintiffs should undergo a psychiatric test to determine whether their emotional distress was caused by the leaked photos or the actual crash itself, reported CNN.

This should be done before the trial begins in February 2022, they said. The next hearing for the case is scheduled for 5 November.

“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 its motion, calling the test “crucial” for the defence.

Ms Bryant had filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles county in September, seeking damages for negligence and invasion of privacy after the county sheriff’s deputies allegedly shared pictures from the crash site where her husband and their daughter Gianna Bryant died.

All nine people onboard the helicopter died on 26 January 2020 in the crash in California’s Calabasas city.

Her suit alleged that one sheriff snapped about 100 pictures on his phone from the crash site and showed them to a bartender in LA.

“The Sheriff’s and Fire Departments’ outrageous actions have caused Mrs Bryant severe emotional distress and compounded the trauma of losing Kobe and Gianna,” read her suit.

The county, however, argued in its Friday motion that the plaintiffs never saw the photos, which the city officials claimed were never publicly disseminated.

The plaintiffs are seeking “tens of millions of dollars to compensate them for their alleged mental and emotional injuries,” the county said, adding that a psychiatric examination will help to know the “existence, extent and cause” of the “alleged harm”.

Attorneys for Ms Bryant and other plaintiffs hit out against the motion, describing it as “bullying” by resorting to “scorched earth discovery tactics”.

They said the request will also force not just adult plaintiffs but also the juvenile plaintiffs to undergo an “eight-hour involuntary psychiatric examination”.

The juvenile plaintiffs were identified just by their initials in the court filings and are said to be comprised of children aged five and teenagers as well.

They added the court should consider evaluating emotional stress through “less intrusive means”.

In June, Ms Bryant agreed to settle another lawsuit for wrongful death against the pilot and the company that owned the helicopter Bryant was on.

She had alleged her husband was killed “as a direct result of the negligent conduct” of the pilot of the helicopter Ara Zobayan and that the company Island Express Helicopters were “vicariously liable in all respects”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in