In a recent court filing, per USA Today, the county asked for Vanessa and other family members to submit to the exams, with their argument being that any emotional distress argued in the lawsuit is due to the fatal January 2020 helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old daughter Gianna, as well as other passengers.
Put another way, the county is arguing that the crash is the sole cause of distress, not by county workers or crash scene photos. In the related legal docs, the county argues that such independent medical examinations are “necessary” to determine the “existence, extent, and nature” of alleged emotional distress.
“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 stated. Attorneys representing Vanessa and other plaintiffs’ families are fighting the county’s attempt at requiring the exams.
Complex has reached out to a county rep for comment.
In September of last year, Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit seeking damages for negligence, privacy invasion, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress in connection with crash site photos. In a statement at the time, per the Associated Press, attorney Luis Li said the legal move was centered on “accountability” and is intended to help prevent “this disgraceful behavior from happening to other families in the future.”
In June, Vanessa Bryant and co-plaintiffs reached a confidential settlement with Island Express Helicopters in connection with another lawsuit centered on the fatal crash.