Vanessa Bryant has been asked to undergo psychiatric testing to prove "the extent and nature of her alleged emotional injuries" over the images of the fatal January 2020 helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and seven others.
Attorneys representing Los Angeles County put in the request for a "physician-ran test" amid the ongoing lawsuit the 39-year-old widow of the late NBA icon filed against the sheriff's office and fire department for negligence and invasion of privacy. Vanessa brought the lawsuit after accusing the authorities of improperly sharing images from the crash site, including at a bar.
According to reports, the motion was filed Friday (October 15) and if approved by a judge, would mean Vanessa and several others would have to complete the testing ahead of the trial.
Court documents obtained by CNN show that the LA County defense attorneys claim that the "several 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." The county's legal team also asserted that Vanessa "cannot be suffering distress from accident site photos that they have never seen and that were never publicly disseminated."
Attorneys representing Vanessa and others pushed back against the county's argument and request for psychiatric evaluations, stating that a "complaint that merely claims for emotional distress does not place the party's mental condition 'in controversy,'" and said that the county should figure out a way to evaluate emotional stress by "less intrusive means."
"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 emotional distress caused by Defendants' misconduct," Vanessa's attorneys said.
A judge is set to hear the matter in a hearing scheduled for November 5, according to Friday's court filing. The trial is scheduled to begin February 2022.