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'untimely'

Vanessa Bryant won't have to undergo psychiatric exam in lawsuit over Kobe Bryant crash photos

Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, won't have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in her lawsuit against Los Angeles County. 

Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick rejected the county's request for Bryant to undergo an independent psychiatric exam to prove she suffered emotional distress as a result of sheriff's deputies allegedly sharing photos from the site of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, CNN reports

Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in California in 2020, and in her lawsuit, Vanessa Bryant alleges sheriff's deputies inappropriately "showed off" photos they took of the victims at the crash site; a photo of Kobe Bryant's remains was allegedly shown in a bar, according to NBC News. An attorney for the county has said there is "no evidence any photos taken by county first responders have ever been publicly disseminated." 

L.A. County recently requested Bryant undergo a psychiatric evaluation to show the photo leak, rather than the helicopter crash, caused her emotional distress, saying, "Plaintiffs cannot claim that they are suffering from ongoing depression, anxiety, and severe emotional distress and then balk at having to support their claims." Bryant's attorneys slammed this request, 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 judge ruled that having Bryant undergo an evaluation would be "untimely," according to CNN. The development in the case comes as the county is expected to pay $2.5 million to two families who lost loved ones in the helicopter crash, though these proposed settlements need to be approved. The trial in Bryant's case is expected to begin in February 2022.