Vanessa Bryant, widow of NBA player Kobe Bryant, will not have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation for her lawsuit against Los Angeles County to move forward.
Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick denied the County’s request calling it “untimely.” Bryant is suing the County for invasion of privacy and negligence over the sheriff and fire department employees sharing photos of human remains from the helicopter crash site where nine people, including the Lakers’ star and Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, died in late January 2020.
The county wanted an independent medical examination to determine if Bryant’s emotional distress was caused by the sharing of the graphic photos or solely by the death of her husband and daughter.
The County argued that its defense would center on the premise that the “severe emotional and mental injuries were not caused by any conduct of Defendants, but rather by the tragic helicopter crash and resulting deaths of their loved ones.”
Bryant’s lawyers argued that “a complaint that merely claims damages for emotional distress does not place a party’s mental condition ‘in controversy.’” They also stated that if the County wanted to evaluate their client’s emotional stress, they should do it by “less intrusive means.”
On Tuesday (November 2), the County settled for $2.5 million with two of the other families who lost loved ones during the crash for emotional distress over the leaked photos.
Bryant’s trial is scheduled for February 2022. She seeks compensatory and punitive damages to “make an example of [the defendants] to the community.”