LA County, sued by Kobe Bryant's widow, counters by demanding she undergo psychiatric evaluation
LOS ANGELES, California - Vanessa Bryant, the wife of deceased basketball star Kobe Bryant, is among a group who are suing Los Angeles County for leaking photos of their dead loved ones who were killed in a January 26, 2020 helicopter crash and now, LA County is demanding that the group submit to psychiatric exams before the case goes to trial.
According to CNN, court filings reveal that Los Angeles County filed a motion in court Friday arguing that it's necessary for independent medical examinations to be conducted as their results would determine whether the emotional distress suffered by Bryant and others were caused by the leak of the photos or the helicopter crash itself.
Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit claims photos of the January 2020 crash were shared by county fire and sheriff's department employees in inappropriate circumstances, such as in a bar.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in September 2020, seeks undisclosed damages, on the grounds of alleged civil rights violations, negligence, emotional distress and violation of privacy.
LA County maintains that Bryant's "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," according to court filing says.
The county goes on to argue that the plaintiffs are seeking "tens of millions of dollars to compensate them for their alleged mental and emotional injuries," and it claims that medical examinations would help evaluate the "existence, extent and cause" of their "alleged harm."
Bryant's lawyers say the county should find a "less intrusive" way to evaluate emotional stress.
"It does not take an expert -- and it certainly does not take an involuntary eight-hour psychiatric examination -- for a jury to assess the nature and extent of the emotional distress caused by Defendants' misconduct," her attorneys said.
A hearing on this particular matter is scheduled to take place November 5 and the trial will begin in February 2022.
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