Kobe Bryant’s widow will not have to undergo psychiatric testing for her lawsuit over graphic photos of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed the basketball star, her 13-year-old daughter and others, a federal judge has ruled.
Los Angeles County had sought to compel psychiatric evaluations for Vanessa Bryant and others to determine if they truly suffered emotional distress over photos of the crash scene and bodies her lawsuit said were taken and shared by county sheriff’s deputies and firefighters.
US Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick on Monday said the county’s motion to compel an evaluation was untimely.
Bryant’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit is scheduled to begin in February.
Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven others were killed on January 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were aboard on their way to a basketball tournament crashed west of Los Angeles in foggy weather.
Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the wreck.
Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit contends 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”.
Bryant, in a deposition, said “for the rest of my life I’m going to have to fear that these photographs of my husband and child will be leaked”.
The judge last week said the county sheriff and fire chief must give depositions in the case.
Attorneys for the county had argued Bryant had never seen the photographs and they were not shared publicly, and wanted to determine whether she truly had suffered emotional distress.
They had sought to require Bryant and other family members of the people who were killed in the crash, including children, to undergo psychiatric evaluations as independent medical examinations.