What’s happening in Vanessa Bryant’s ‘invasion of privacy’ lawsuit following leaked photos of Kobe and Gianna’s bodies?
In what has turned out to be a nasty tit-for-tat with the county itself, the NBA legend’s widow is holding firm in her quest for justice.
It’s been more than two years, since the NBA legend and his daughter tragically lost their lives along with others in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles, but legal action stemming from authorities’ handling of the scene starts today.
Vanessa Bryant’s case against police and firefighters starts today
According to reports, an invasion of privacy trial against the Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire departments will commence on Wednesday, 10th August in a U.S. District Court. The lawsuit comes as a result of Vanessa Bryant’s claim that deputies did not take the photos from the crash site of her late husband Kobe Bryant for investigative purposes, but rather that they shared them with firefighters who responded to the fateful helicopter crash on January 26th, 2020. The lawsuit goes on to explain that a deputy showed the photos to fellow patrons at a bar, while the firefighter in question revealed them to off-duty colleagues. It is understood, that Vanessa Bryant is seeking unspecified millions in compensation.
“Mrs. Bryant feels ill at the thought that sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, and members of the public have gawked at gratuitous images of her deceased husband and child,” the lawsuit says. “She lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online.”
The fallout from Kobe Bryant’s fatal crash
On that sad morning back in January of 2020, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and five other parents and players were flying to a girls’ basketball tournament, when their chartered helicopter crashed in the Calabasas Hills west of Los Angeles in fog. The crash was ultimately deemed as a case of pilot error by federal safety officials. To that end, it should be noted that Vanessa Bryant has since initiated the litigation against the deceased pilot’s estate.
What’s interesting here, is the fact that in its defense, the county has argued that Bryant has suffered emotional distress from the deaths of her loved ones and not the photos of them. Citing the fact that the photos were ordered deleted by Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the rebuttal also goes on to state that the photos have never been circulated in the media or internet, such that Bryant’s lawsuit is speculative - at best - about harm she may potentially suffer in the future. Incidentally, a law has been instituted as a result of the crash and actually makes it illegal for first responders to photograph - unauthorized - the deceased at accident or crime scenes.
What’s happened so far for Vanessa Bryant and others?
It’s worth mentioning, that the county has already agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a similar case initiated by two families whose relatives also died in the crash. What’s clear, however, is that Vanessa Bryant is in no way interested in settling, as she continues to seek more in damages. Unfortunate as it is, the case has descended into sometimes ugly scenes with county at one point seeking a psychiatric evaluation of Bryant in an effort to determine whether she had in fact suffered emotional distress from the photos. Needless to say, her attorneys didn’t like it and accused county of trying to bully their client along with family members of other victims. The county then responded by saying, that while it was sympathetic to Bryant’s losses, it viewed her case as nothing more than a “money grab.”