16 November 2021

Kobe Bryant’s widow needs to supply therapy records, judge rules

16 November 2021

The widow of NBA star Kobe Bryant must allow lawyers to review her therapy records, a judge has ruled, as she sues first responders for emotional distress.

Vanessa Bryant said she had been impacted by emergency service workers taking photos at the site of the helicopter crash.

The pictures, of the area where Bryant, his teenage daughter and seven others died in the January 2020 incident, were also shared which has also caused distress, the lawsuit said.

US District Court Magistrate Judge Charles Eick granted a request by county lawyers to review Vanessa Bryant’s records, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.

But the judge limited the documents to the years since 2017, not 2010 as the lawyers had sought.

Kobe Bryant was killed in the crash (Stephen Pond/PA) (PA Archive)

“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 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.

County lawyers led by outside counsel Skip Miller argue that the deaths themselves caused her distress, and they sought the therapy records to determine Bryant’s mental state.

The same judge rejected a previous effort by the county to require her to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Her lawyers argued that the effort to get her therapy records was a further invasion of her privacy.

“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,” Mr Miller was quoted by the Times as saying.

“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.”

Lawyers for Vanessa Bryant did not immediately comment.

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