December 8, 2021

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L.A County asks for Vanessa Bryant’s therapy records in lawsuit over leaked Kobe Bryant crash photos – NBC News

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LOS ANGELES — Attorneys for Los Angeles County have asked a federal judge to order Kobe Bryant’s widow to produce all therapy records dating back to 2010 in an ongoing lawsuit over leaked photos of the site of the crash that killed the NBA legend.

In court documents filed Friday, the county said Vanessa Bryant’s therapy records are necessary for its defense against a lawsuit she filed last year that alleges that county employees “showed off” photos of the deadly crash that killed her husband, 13-year-old daughter and seven others on Jan. 26, 2020.

Bryant’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

The county’s motion asks for “all documents relating to or reflecting counseling, therapy, psychotherapy, psychiatry or any other mental health treatment provided to Vanessa Bryant from Jan. 1, 2010, to the present.”

“The County continues to have nothing but the deepest sympathy for the enormous grief Ms. Bryant suffered as a result of the tragic helicopter accident,” county attorney Skip Miller said in a written statement. “Our motion for access to her medical records, however, is a standard request in lawsuits where a plaintiff demands millions of dollars for claims of emotional distress. I have an obligation to take this step to defend the County.”

Bryant’s lawsuit contends that first responders, including firefighters and sheriff’s deputies, shared photographs of Kobe Bryant’s body with a bartender and passed around “gratuitous photos of the dead children, parents and coaches.”

The lawsuit alleges invasion of privacy, and claims that Vanessa Bryant experienced “severe emotional distress” because of the leaked photos that compounded the trauma of losing her husband and their daughter Gianna.

“Nothing compares. Nothing’s close to this. I lost my husband and child. That was the worst thing imaginable,” she said in a deposition recorded by videoconference last month.

Los Angeles County has soughtto compel psychiatric evaluations for Vanessa Bryant and others to determine whether they truly suffered emotional distress because of the photos, and not because of the crash itself. Bryant’s attorneys argue in court filings that the examinations are “cruel”; the county contends they are “a routine part of the discovery process.”

A judge ruled earlier this month that she would not be forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation as part of her lawsuit.

Bryant’s attorneys had previously said the motion was part of the county’s “scorched earth discovery tactics designed to bully Plaintiffs into abandoning their pursuit of accountability.”

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