Oct. 18, 2021 -- Los Angeles County is requesting that Vanessa Bryant and other family members have psychiatric tests to find the cause of their emotional distress after NBA star Kobe Bryant’s death.

After Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a January 2020 helicopter crash with seven others, Vanessa Bryant sued the county for invasion of privacy, negligence, and emotional distress after photos of human remains at the crash site surfaced online. She said county fire and sheriff’s department employees shared the photos.

In a Friday court filing, county attorneys requested that she and family members submit psychiatric exams in the case, arguing that the crash itself was the cause of their distress rather than the photo leak, Deadline reported.

Los Angeles County also said employees didn’t publicly disclose any accident site photos, according to Deadline. In the court documents, the county said the Bryant family is suing for “tens of millions of dollars based solely on their claimed ‘severe emotional distress.’”

“Despite putting their mental condition front and center in this case, Plaintiffs refuse to submit to independent medical examinations (IMEs),” the county wrote in the filing.

“The County brings this motion to compel IMEs of the Plaintiffs, which are necessary to evaluate the existence, extent and nature of the Plaintiffs’ alleged emotional injuries,” the county wrote. “Plaintiffs cannot claim that they are suffering from ongoing depression, anxiety and severe emotional distress and then balk at having to support their claims.”

Attorneys for Vanessa Bryant and family members have argued against the psychiatric exams, saying that they should be evaluated by “less intrusive means,” according to CNN.

“It does not take an expert -- and it certainly does not take an involuntary 8-hour psychiatric examination -- for a jury to assess the nature and extent of the emotional distress caused by Defendants’ misconduct,” her attorneys said.

In May, L.A. County accused Bryant of going on a “fishing expedition” in the lawsuit, according to theGrio. She identified four deputies that she believes shared the crash site photos.

“This straightforward case, with undisputed facts, has turned into a fishing expedition that is taking first responders away from their jobs -- and subjecting them to public harassment and threat,” the county wrote. “Defendants are eager to have their day in Court and put an end to this.”

A court hearing over the county’s request is scheduled for Nov. 5, CNN reported, and the trial is set to begin in February. The county has requested that the Bryant family submit evaluations before the trial begins.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

Deadline: “Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s Widow, May Be Forced To Take Psychiatric Exam By L.A. County In Lawsuit.”

CNN: “Vanessa Bryant and others are suing LA County for emotional distress. The county wants them to take a psychiatric exam before trial.”

theGrio: “Vanessa Bryant asked to take psychiatric exams in lawsuit against Los Angeles County.”

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