Los Angeles County has accused Kobe Bryant’s widow of leading a fishing expedition that takes first responders out of their jobs and subjects them to harassment after she sued them and posted four of their names on Instagram in March.
Vanessa Bryant is suing the county for negligence and invasion of privacy, accusing the county sheriff and firefighters of inappropriately sharing photos of a helicopter crash last year that killed nine people, including the daughter and husband of NBA legend Bryant. In response, the county is fighting back and suggested in a new court filing this week that it went too far with a search for “scorched earth” information.
“This simple case, with undisputed facts, has turned into a fishing expedition that removes first responders from their jobs – and subjects them to public harassment and threats,” said a file submitted to federal court this week by county lawyers. “The defendants are eager to spend their day in court and put an end to this.”
Bryant’s trial aims to punish the sub-defendants and “set an example for the community” after she said she shared graphic photos of the remains of the victims “without any legitimate government purpose.”
INDUCTION:Vanessa Bryant honors Kobe and Gianna Bryant legacy during Hall speech
In that quest, she asked the court to extend the deadline for discovering evidence in the case, which gave her more time to gather information and proceed with witness testimony. She wants this deadline to be extended from August to February.
But the county said there was no basis for an extension and said there was no public release of photos. The county said “only government staff and a friend saw the photographs in question” and that there is no basis for her lawsuit.
“The plaintiff has spent countless hours on meaningless discovery litigation and recklessly posting about defendants on social media – while taking the position that her 50 depositions cannot begin until she has not all documents in the county’s possession, “the county record says. “It’s not diligence. There is no basis for changing the planning order. “
Bryant initially filed a lawsuit last year, but amended her lawsuit in March to include the names of four sheriff’s deputies she accuses of sharing the photos, including one who allegedly did so at a bar two days after the ‘accident. She then took to Instagram to post their names and highlight them with a red box drawn around them.
“The plaintiff posted the names of the deputy defendants online, and they were subjected to harassment and threats,” said a statement filed in court by attorney Mira Hashmall, who represents MPs and the county.
Hashmall attached a piece to his file that shows the reactions online to Bryant’s nomination of MPs, including one that read, “PULL EM OUTTA HIDDEN AS ROACHES THEY ARE.”
The county said Bryant served 126 RFPS (or production requests) and that county defendants completed seven productions of documents containing 29,941 pages.
Bryant “knows that only one non-government person saw photographs of the crash site showing human remains,” the county says. “Due to the way (Bryant) worded his questioning, responses include the names of first responders who took photographs of the crash site that did not represent human remains and those who shared photos of the crash site. accident with other staff and agencies (such as the NTSB) for official purposes. The complainant knows that there was no public broadcast. “
Bryant’s lawyers see it differently. They recently asked for more time to gather evidence after saying they learned that the misconduct by public safety workers was “more expansive and egregious than (Bryant) originally understood.” They said 66 county employees had relevant knowledge of the misconduct and at least 18 sheriff and firefighter employees “took, shared and / or possessed” inappropriate photos at the crash scene.
The county expressed condolences to the Bryant family for their loss. He said in a court file last month that he did not tolerate “this presentation of photographs of the crash site” and had taken corrective staff action accordingly.
“The accident took place almost a year and a half ago now, and there has been no public release” of the photos, the county filing said this week. “Hypothetical harm is not a basis for a lawsuit. Nor is it a basis for an “unprecedented” discovery against public entities and first responders. “