Vanessa Bryant has claimed “emotional distress” over the issue of her husband’s death, but the judge says the medical documents are needed to provide proof of her claim.
Los Angeles County recently agreed to pay $2.5 million according to to the families of four of the victims in the helicopter crash that also killed Kobe Bryant in hopes of settling their lawsuits over photos allegedly leaked by deputies and firefighters.
The lawsuits came after the Los Angeles Times reported that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies had allegedly shared gruesome pictures of the deadly crash at a bar.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Charles Eick granted a request by county lawyers to review Vanessa Bryant’s records, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. But the judge limited the documents to the years since 2017, not 2010 as the lawyers had sought.
“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,” the judge wrote of the Jan. 26, 2020, crash near Los Angeles.
Vanessa Bryant testified in her deposition that because of the photos she has suffered constant fear and anxiety and has had trouble sleeping. She is suing for invasion of privacy, asking for damages for emotional distress. The case is scheduled for trial in February.
Kobe Bryant’s widow wanted to block the County from access to her medical records according to NBC News, citing doctor-patient privilege as it relates to her visits with a psychotherapist. As you know, Vanessa is suing L.A. County over Sheriff’s deputies sharing crash site photos that included remains of the victims.
She’s said the knowledge the photos were out there was causing her “constant fear and anxiety” and she’s had trouble sleeping and been depressed.
Defense attorneys for the County requested Vanessa’s medical records because they wanted to determine whether her trauma was caused by the alleged photo leak, or the tragic helicopter crash itself.
In the ruling according to TMZ, the judge said the medical records were relevant, and the County was “neither being abusive nor harassing” in requesting them. The judge is giving Vanessa until Nov. 29 to turn over the documents.
“Nothing compares. Nothing’s close to this,” Vanessa Bryant said of the tragedy in an October deposition. “I lost my husband and child. That was the worst thing imaginable.”