L.A. County asks Vanessa Bryant to undergo psychiatric evaluation in lawsuit over crash photos

Los Angeles County wants a judge to force Vanessa Bryant and others – including her children and siblings of plane crash victims – to submit to a lengthy psychiatric evaluation as part of a lawsuit over photographs of the wreckage made public.
Los Angeles County wants a judge to force Vanessa Bryant and others – including her children and siblings of plane crash victims – to submit to a lengthy psychiatric evaluation as part of a lawsuit over photographs of the wreckage made public. Photo credit Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Los Angeles County wants a judge to force Vanessa Bryant and others – including her children and siblings of plane crash victims – to submit to a lengthy psychiatric evaluation as part of a lawsuit over photographs of the wreckage made public.

Vanessa Bryant – NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s widow – filed suit for millions of dollars against the county and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office after multiple deputies and first responders took graphic photos of the crash site where Kobe, their daughter Gianna, and seven other people died. The employees shared the photos and allegedly bragged about them in a bar, leading to the investigation.

L.A. County attorneys, who filed the motion Monday, arguing about the plaintiffs’ claims of “suffering from severe emotional distress”, NPR reported.

"A central tenet of the County's defense is that Plaintiffs' 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," the county's attorney said. "Plaintiffs cannot be suffering distress from accident site photos that they have never seen and that were never publicly disseminated."

Meanwhile, attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that the tests are involuntary and want to find a different method that is “less intrusive.”

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Bryant and other defendants want to depose County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Fire Chief Daryl Osby, but alleged the county has denied making them available in court documents, FOX LA said.

A court hearing for the psychiatric exams will be held Nov. 5 in Los Angeles federal court. A trial is scheduled for next year.