U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Charles Eick has ruled that Kobe Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, must turn over her therapy records from 2017 through 2021. Attorneys representing Los Angeles County have argued that her therapy records are pertinent to a case in which Bryant says she endured emotional distress after first responders took and shared photos from the site of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed her husband and daughter.
“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,” Eick wrote in a statement obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Thus far, Bryant has stated that she had trouble sleeping and dealt with anxiety after photos of the crash site were shared with the public. In response, county lawyers have argued that her husband and daughter's death caused her distress, not the photos.
“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. 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,” attorney Skip Miller told the Los Angeles Times.
Bryant's attorney, Mari Saigal, has told KCAL that the effort to obtain her client's therapy records “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.”
Bryant and her therapist have until November 29 to produce the necessary records to the court.