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Vanessa Bryant asked to prove distress in Kobe crash pictures lawsuit

Vanessa Bryant asked to prove distress in Kobe crash pictures lawsuit
NBA superstar and teenage daughter Gianna among nine who died in California helicopter accident in January 2020

Kobe Bryant’s widow has been asked to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to prove she suffered emotional distress from leaked photos of the crash that killed the NBA legend and their daughter.

Los Angeles County wants a judge to order Vanessa Bryant to have a psychiatric evaluation as part of her lawsuit following the January 2020 helicopter crash in California.

Ms Bryant and relatives of other victims have sued amid claims that photographs taken at the scene of the fatal accident were shared by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters.

In the lawsuit, Ms Bryant has claimed that she suffered serious emotional distress after learning about the photographs of the horrific crash, which killed the retired athlete, 13-year-old Gianna Bryant and seven others.

Ms Bryant and the other families filed lawsuits last year seeking undisclosed damages for the emotional distress and the violation of civil rights and privacy.

It was revealed after the accident that a deputy had showed graphic images of the crash in a bar.

In a filing in the case last week, the county’s lawyers asked for Ms Bryant to undergo an independent medical examination before the trial in federal court in February 2022.

The filing stated that Ms Bryant “cannot be suffering distress from accident site photos that they have never seen and that were never publicly disseminated.”

Ms Bryant’s lawyer accused the county of pursuing a “scorched earth” tactic ahead of trial

“Unable to defend the indefensible conduct of its employees who took and shared horrific photographs of plaintiff’s loved ones … the county has resorted to a scorched earth discovery tactic designed to bully plaintiffs into abandoning their pursuit of accountability,” Luis Li stated in his opposition to the county’s motion.

He also said that the county refusing to let Sheriff Alex Villaneuva or county Fire Chief Daryl Osby be deposed in the case was “adding insult to injury.”

In June Ms Bryant reached a confidential settlement to end her lawsuit against the companies that owned and operated the helicopter, as well as the estate of the late helicopter pilot, accusing them of negligence and causing the wrongful death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant.

She sued for damages in return for the losses she suffered and was joined by three other families who lost loved ones.

Mr Bryant’s rented helicopter went down in the hills west of Los Angeles in foggy weather on their way to a girls basketball tournament.

Federal officials have blamed pilot error for the accident.