Why Was Vanessa Bryant Asked To Undergo Psychiatric Evaluation?

Kobe Bryant died on January 26, 2020, after a helicopter that he was riding in along with his daughter, Gigi Bryant, and seven others (including the helicopter's pilot) crashed in Calabasas, California. All of the people onboard the helicopter died. In the months following the crash, Kobe's wife, Vanessa Bryant, filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County after photos of the crash were allegedly shared by four Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies, according to USA Today. While action was reportedly taken against the deputies who allegedly snapped and shared the photos, the county has been fighting the lawsuit since it was first filed. 

"The County does not condone this showing of accident site photographs and has taken corrective personnel actions accordingly. That does not mean, however, that Plaintiff has viable legal claims," a counter-filing provided by USA Today read. The county's reasoning? The photos were not shared publicly or given to the media. "[The photos] were not publicly disseminated. Plaintiff brought this lawsuit because she is concerned that photographs may be publicly disseminated. There is no legal basis for suing Defendants for hypothetical harm," the court documents continued. 

Fast forward to October 2021, and the county is trying to make somewhat of a bold move. Keep reading to find out more.

Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit against LA County heats up

Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit against Los Angeles county has not yet been resolved. In October, USA Today reported that the county "is trying to force the widow of Kobe Bryant and other surviving family members of a fatal helicopter crash last year to submit to psychiatric examinations." The idea is that if the evaluation proves that Vanessa and the others did not "suffer emotional distress because photos of their dead relatives," then there may not actually be grounds for the lawsuit. The suggested examinations could show whether or not the family members of the crash victims were directly affected by the alleged private release of the crash site photos.

CBS Sports reports that this is just one of a few "pre-trial issues" that have come up ahead of the case's first court date. "Unable to defend the indefensible conduct of its employees who took and shared horrific photographs of Plaintiffs' deceased loved ones. ... the County has resorted to scorched-earth discovery tactics designed to bully Plaintiffs into abandoning their pursuit of accountability," Vanessa's lawyers said in a statement following the county's request for psychiatric examinations. A judge will be the one to determine whether or not these examinations will be required.