In response to Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit against Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department over photos taken at the site of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna, and seven others, the county has requested that she undergo an independent psychiatric evaluation.
Bryant filed the lawsuit in September 2020, eight months after the accident, accusing at least eight sheriff's deputies of using their cell phones to take pictures of the victims. The suit claims that Bryant was assured that the crash site was secure and no unauthorized photos would get out, but the deputies "showed off" the pictures they took, causing Bryant severe emotional distress.
On Friday, Los Angeles County filed a motion that Bryant go through the psychiatric evaluation to prove that it was the leak of the photos that caused her distress, rather than the death of her husband and daughter. "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.
Bryant's attorneys pushed back, saying, "Apparently, in the county's estimation, top officials should be shielded from providing any testimony, but the victims should not only withstand the emotional toll of a full-day deposition, but also submit to an eight-hour involuntary psychiatric examination simply because they had the audacity to demand accountability." The county, they added, is engaged in "scorched earth discovery tactics" meant to scare Bryant into dropping her lawsuit.