Hasn’t she been through enough?!
Nothing looks more guilty than blaming the victims, but the County of Los Angeles clearly has no shame. Vanessa Bryant is suing for invasion of privacy and negligence by its employees who took and shared personal photos of Kobe and Gigi Bryant’s helicopter crash.
USA Today reports that on Friday, the County filed a motion to force Kobe’s widow and the other surviving family members of the crash to undergo a psychiatric examination.
Are these families in emotional distress because several first responders took pictures of the fatal crash to share like souvenirs from a vacation or are they only upset by losing loved ones in the crash itself? This is what the County wants to determine with the court-ordered psych evaluations.
“Despite putting their mental condition front and center in this case, Plaintiffs refuse to submit to independent medical examinations (IMEs),” the motion claimed. “The County brings this motion to compel IMEs of the Plaintiffs, which are necessary to evaluate the existence, extent and nature of Plaintiffs’ alleged emotional injuries. Plaintiffs cannot claim that they are suffering from ongoing depression, anxiety and severe emotional distress and then balk at having to support their claims.”
It’s too late to dispute that they’re guilty of taking the pictures of the helicopter wreck, including the remains of the nine parents, children, coaches, and pilot who died. Three days after the crash, someone reported a deputy for “bragging about” and showing off those pictures to other people at a bar. There is even proposed legislation to prevent those incidents from happening again in the state of California. When Vanessa publicly named the police responsible for the misconduct, the County accused her of endangering the officers’ lives by posting them online. Funny how privacy suddenly mattered for protecting cops.
Now the Los Angeles County’s latest motion accused Vanessa of pursuing “vengeance” against a “third party witness” like retired fire department captain Brian Jordan.
According to a court document Bryant’s attorney’s filed Friday, Jordan shot pictures on his personal phone that “directly focused on human remains and then sent the photos to at least one other Department employee, who proceeded to share them over cocktails at a public awards show function.”
The County called it “an invasion of privacy to rectify a potentially theoretical wrong” for Bryant to request a court order for Jordan’s phone records related to messages and images he shared about the crash. Meanwhile, the County wants to dig into the private settlement for the surviving families’ wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express helicopter company and accuse the plaintiffs of double-dipping with two settlements.
“There is no doubt plaintiffs suffered emotional distress following the tragic loss of their loved ones, and the ounty extends its sincere condolences, but plaintiffs’ claims are misdirected,” said a statement filed last month by the County. “Plaintiffs’ emotional distress was not caused by (the County defendants), who have neither published nor publicly disseminated any accident site photographs. Rather, plaintiffs’ harm was caused by the unimaginable loss of their family members, which was the subject of the Island Express litigation.”
These families had a hard enough time grieving their losses without L.A. County demanding psychiatric examinations and dismissing the damage done by trifling employees simply because pictures of the crash victims haven’t circulated online.
“Unable to defend the indefensible conduct of its employees who took and shared horrific photographs of Plaintiffs’ deceased loved ones. … the County has resorted to scorched-earth discovery tactics designed to bully Plaintiffs into abandoning their pursuit of accountability,” Bryant’s attorneys stated. “After seeking intrusive discovery into everything from Plaintiffs’ privileged therapist records and middle school report cards, the County now seeks to compel the victims of its employees’ misconduct … to undergo involuntary psychiatric examinations.”
If there is any question about how law enforcement gets away misconduct, crime, and sometimes literal murder, just look at what they’re willing to defend and how low they’ll go to drag victims through a difficult traumatic lawsuit.
A judge will have to rule on the order for involuntary psych exams. The trial for this case is scheduled to begin in February 2022.