A federal judge has ordered that Vanessa Bryant, widow of NBA star Kobe Bryant, must turn over her private therapy records dating from 2017 onward as part of her ongoing lawsuit against Los Angeles County over photos taken of the helicopter crash that killed her husband and 13-year-old daughter.
Business Insider reported that the revelation was included in new court documents, which were in response to a previous motion made by L.A. County.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, L.A. County filed a motion requesting Bryant and the family members of other crash victims take a psychiatric exam to prove that their mental distress was due to the crash photos and not distress over the loss of their loved ones.
Bryant’s attorneys wrote in a court filing that the county is seeking psychiatric evaluations for family members of other crash victims. Including “four teenagers, a 10-year-old child, and a 5-year-old kindergartener.”
“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 wrote in a motion, according to NBC News.
Attorneys for Bryant in their own court filing called the county’s demands an attempt at “scorched-earth discovery tactics designed to bully Plaintiffs into abandoning their pursuit of accountability.”
The county, according to NBC, is arguing that it was the crash itself that caused Bryant emotional distress and not crash photographs.
In return, Bryant’s attorneys argue that “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.”
As Business Insider reported this week, L.A. County requested Bryant provide private therapy records from 2010 onward. Bryant’s husband, Kobe, and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a tragic helicopter crash in January 2020.
Judge Charles Eick wrote in his ruling that the “requests are plainly relevant to the claims and defenses herein and, as narrowed by this order, the requests are proportional to the needs of the case.”
“Plaintiff has waived her psychotherapist-patient privilege by placing into controversy the reportedly extraordinary, continuing emotional distress allegedly resulting from Defendants’ photograph-related actions or inactions,” Eick added.
Earlier this month, Eick denied L.A. County’s request to make Vanessa Bryant undergo the psychiatric exam, but the County then sought her private therapy records for the decade prior to the crash as well as any records since the crash, which Eick granted.
“The County continues to have nothing but the deepest sympathy for the enormous grief Ms. Bryant suffered as a result of the tragic helicopter accident,” Skip Miller, who is working as outside counsel for LA County, told Buisiness Insider. “We are gratified that the Court has granted our motion for access to her medical records, as it is a standard request in lawsuits where a plaintiff demands millions of dollars for claims of emotional distress.”