Monday, November 29

Vanessa Bryant Lawsuit Explained: Kobe Bryant’s Wife Sues Los Angeles County Over Crash Site Photos

Vanessa Bryant remains embroiled in a legal battle with Los Angeles County more than a year after the deaths of her husband, Kobe, and their daughter, Gianna.

Bryant filed a lawsuit in September 2020, eight months after Kobe, Gianna and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. She alleges that she and her family have suffered emotional distress because Los Angeles County police and fire department employees took and shared gruesome photos at the crash site.

Here’s what we know so far about Bryant’s lawsuit, including how he responded to questions during his recent statement.

What You Should Know About Vanessa Bryant’s Lawsuit

Bryant is seeking damages for “negligence, invasion of privacy and intentionally inflicting emotional distress” after first responders allegedly took and shared photos of human remains at the crash site.

“Emotional distress means that not only do I have to mourn the loss of my husband and son, but for the rest of my life I will have to fear that these photographs of my husband and son will be leaked,” Bryant. said as part of his deposition on October 12 ( via The New York Times ). “And I don’t want my daughters or I to have to see her remains in that matter. I also don’t think it’s correct that the photographs were taken in the first place because it’s already difficult enough to have to experience this pain and loss.

“But now living the rest of my life having to fear that those photographs will surface is something that I have to deal with every day.”

County attorneys have argued that Bryant cannot be suffering from emotional distress because he has not seen the photos and they have not been shared publicly. They have lobbied for independent medical examinations of Bryant and others to determine whether the distress was caused by county employees sharing photos or by the accident itself and the deaths of Kobe and Gianna.

Bryant’s attorneys responded by calling the tests “cruel”, according to The New York Times .

“When public servants violate the privacy and constitutional rights of the citizens they have sworn to protect and serve, victims must challenge themselves to seek justice,” Bryant’s attorneys said.

Deposition of Vanessa Bryant

In his deposition , Bryant recounted the events of January 26, 2020, the day of the helicopter crash. He also explained why he filed the lawsuit against Los Angeles County.

– On how you found out about the accident: “[A family assistant] He told me that there was an accident and that there were five survivors. And I asked him if Gianna and Kobe were okay. And she said she wasn’t sure. She did not know. … I tried to call my husband. … I tried to get in touch with my mom. As soon as I was on the phone with my mom, I was holding it, because obviously I was trying to call my husband back, and all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe “.

– On his conversation with Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who confirmed the deaths of Kobe and Gianna: “Sheriff Villanueva tells me what happened. And he says, ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ And I said, “If you can’t bring my husband and baby, please make sure no one takes pictures of you. Please secure the area. “And he said, ‘I will.’ I said, ‘No, I need you to get on the phone right now and I need you to make sure to protect the area.’ So he apologized. He came back and said: ‘Everything is fine. The area is safe. There is an umbrella over the area.’

– On the recovery of elements from the accident site: “I have my husband’s and daughter’s clothes in my possession. And I can say that they – they suffered a lot. And if their clothes represent the condition of their bodies, I can’t imagine how anyone can be so insensitive and disregard them or our friends, and just share the pictures as if they were animals on the street. We are not talking about – I really don’t want to go into details. I can only say that their clothes represent a lot…. I had to get all their items back because I know that people are sick and I would like to take pictures of them and share them. So I wanted to make sure I get everything I can get back. “

– About what you are looking for with this lawsuit: “I want accountability … I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. I don’t think it’s okay … I don’t think it’s right that I have to deal with this; that my children have to deal with this when they are older and realize what happened; that our friends have to deal with this. I don’t think it’s fair that I’m here today having to fight for accountability. Because no one should ever have to endure this kind of pain and fear of members of your family. Pictures being posted, this is not right … I just don’t understand how someone can have no respect for life and compassion and instead choose to take the opportunity to photograph lifeless and defenseless individuals for your own sick amusement. “

Vanessa Bryant Wins Judgment in Lawsuit; Los Angeles County officials will testify

US Magistrate Judge Charles Eick ruled that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Los Angeles County Fire Marshal Daryl Osby will be forced to answer questions in a pre-trial statement. according to USA Today . Eick stated that Villanueva and Osby possess “unique, non-repetitive, first-hand knowledge relevant to the problems in this case” that is “not fully obtainable” from other sources.

“While we do not agree with the court’s decision, we will make both the Sheriff and the Fire Marshal available for deposition,” said Skip Miller, a partner at the Miller Barondess law firm in Los Angeles, in a statement to USA Today. “His testimony will not change the fact that there is no evidence that the photos taken by the county responders have been publicly released.”

The duration of the deposition will be limited to four hours so as not to divert Villanueva and Osby from their professional duties.

When will a trial take place?

The case is expected to go to trial in February 2022. Bryant is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

When asked during the deposition if he was seeking money in this lawsuit, Bryant replied, “That would be up to the jury. I am not, I am not asking for a dollar amount.”

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