There’s a lot going on in California. The Golden State Warriors are on fire. Anthony Davis thinks the Lakers “suck.” And the Staples Center will be called the Crypto.com Arena starting on Christmas. Maybe that’s why more people aren’t focused on what’s still happening to Vanessa Bryant.
A judge has ordered Kobe Bryant’s widow to turn over her therapy records dating back to 2017 as part of her invasion of privacy lawsuit against L.A. County, as she’s alleging that she suffered emotional distress from the fact that first responders were passing around photos from the helicopter crash that killed her husband, daughter, and seven others last year.
In the middle of this situation is Sheriff Alex Villanueva, a man who has already admitted that the pictures were taken and shared.
That Bryant’s emotional distress is solely based on the loss of life, not because of the photos, as he claims they were never made public.
As for what Villanueva has been up to recently — on Tuesday, Rolling Stone reported that L.A. Deputies Tasered an “unwell man and shot him with rubber bullets,” a story which included allegations that Villanueva has “created an atmosphere” within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in which “the violation of civil rights is not only approved by the department, but encouraged.”
Don’t ever tell me local elections don’t matter.
But let’s get back to Bryant’s case, as it’s been full of ups and downs.
Federal magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick is the one that’s ordering Bryant and her lawyer to produce her therapy records. However, he’s also the one that denied L.A. County’s request to force Bryant to take a psych evaluation that would have been recorded in video and audio and lasted eight hours.
Per a report from Yahoo Sports, Bryant’s attorney labeled the request for therapy records as bullying.
“This effort should be seen for what it is: an attempt to bully Mrs. Bryant into dropping her case to avoid her private therapy records being brandished in open court and reported on by media outlets,” an attorney for Bryant, Mari Saigal, wrote.
As expected, L.A. County’s lawyers do not agree.
“When a plaintiff puts her mental condition at issue and demands compensation for severe emotional distress, like Plaintiff has done here, she opens the door to discovery about her mental health,” reads the filing from the Miller Barondess firm. “The County’s request for Plaintiff’s therapy records is not an intimidation tactic, as Plaintiff argues; it’s a routine part of discovery in emotional distress cases.”
I’m not a lawyer, and if you’re reading this you probably aren’t either. The legal system has always been a fickle beast depending on who the plaintiffs and defendants are, and this case is just another example of how “justice” hangs in the balance although the events that led to this case have affected so many. Because even if L.A. County does wind up winning, it won’t feel like a victory if all they accomplish is causing more pain for the family of one of America’s most iconic athletes.