Does Vanessa Bryant have a case over photos taken of Kobe Bryant’s crash?

FILE – In this Feb. 24, 2020, file photo, Vanessa Bryant speaks during a celebration of life for her husband, Kobe Bryant, and daughter Gianna in Los Angeles. Los Angeles County is seeking to compel psychiatric evaluations for Kobe Bryant’s widow and others to determine if they truly suffered emotional distress after first responders took and shared graphic photos from the site of the helicopter crash that killed the basketball star, his teenage daughter and seven others in 2020, court documents say. Vanessa Bryant, whose federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County alleges invasion of privacy, has claimed in court papers that she has suffered “severe emotional distress” that has compounded the trauma of losing her husband and 13-year-old daughter. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(CNN) Los Angeles County wants to compel the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and others involved in a lawsuit over leaked photos of the helicopter crash that killed him, their daughter and seven others to take psychiatric exams before the case goes to trial, court filings show.

In a motion filed in court Friday, Los Angeles County argued independent medical examinations are necessary to determine whether the emotional distress suffered by Bryant and others were caused by the leak of the photos or the helicopter crash itself. 

Vanessa Bryant’s civil lawsuit against Los Angeles County claims photos of the January 2020 crash were shared by county fire and sheriff’s department employees in settings irrelevant to the investigation, including at a bar. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in September 2020, seeks undisclosed damages, claiming civil rights violations, negligence, emotional distress and violation of privacy. 

A “central tenet” of the county’s defense is the “severe 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 court filing says. The county argues the plaintiffs “cannot be suffering distress from accident site photos that they have never seen and that were never publicly disseminated.”

“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 the emotional distress caused by Defendants’ misconduct,” attorneys for Bryant said.

Listen to Nikki Medoro take listener calls to see if Kobe Bryant actually has a case.

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