Vanessa Bryant Will Not Have to Undergo Psych Evaluation to Prove 'Distress' in Crash Photos Suit

A judge rejected Los Angeles County’s motion that Vanessa Bryant be required to prove leaked photos of her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna's fatal helicopter crash site caused emotional distress

Hall of Fame
Vanessa Bryant. Photo: ESPN

Vanessa Bryant will not be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation as part of her ongoing lawsuit against Los Angeles County.

On Monday, a judge denied the county's request that Vanessa, 39, undergo an independent medical evaluation to prove that leaked photos of the January 2020 helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe Bryant and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna caused emotional distress, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

The judge said that any such evaluation would be "untimely."

Attorneys for Vanessa declined PEOPLE's request for comment. Los Angeles County's representation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the Oct. 15 court filing requesting the psychiatric exams of Vanessa and family members of the other crash victims, attorneys for Los Angeles County argued that such evaluations "are not only relevant, but necessary for the County to mount its defense to these claims and to evaluate the existence, extent and nature of Plaintiffs' alleged emotional injuries."

"Defendants' position is that, while Plaintiffs have undoubtedly suffered severe distress and trauma from the crash and resulting loss of their loved ones, their distress was not caused by Defendants or any accident site photos that were never publicly disseminated," the document stated.

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Vanessa Laine Bryant, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, Natalia Diamante Bryant and Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant
Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant with two of their daughters, Natalia and Gianna, in 2018. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Following the motion, Vanessa's attorneys told CNN that the county should find "less intrusive" means moving forward.

"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," the attorneys said, per the outlet.

Vanessa filed a legal complaint last year against Los Angeles County, as well as its sheriff's office and fire department, claiming that deputies "publicly disseminated photos from the helicopter crash site" after she personally requested "that the area be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers."

During her pretrial deposition last month, Vanessa detailed how she experienced "emotional distress" from the situation.

"The impact of the helicopter crash was so damaging, I just don't understand how someone can have no regard for life and compassion, and, instead, choose to take that opportunity to photograph lifeless and helpless individuals for their own sick amusement," Vanessa said in the deposition obtained by PEOPLE, emphasizing her desire for "accountability."

"My life will never be the same without my husband and daughter," she added.

The trial is set to begin February 2022.

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