One of the most contentious issues, the subject of numerous court filings in recent days, is whether the county can conduct what are called independent medical examinations, which involve psychiatric evaluations, of each of the plaintiffs.
Bryant’s lawyers argue that the examinations are “cruel” and that the county is sending a message by requesting them. “When public servants violate the privacy and constitutional rights of the citizens they swore to protect and serve, the victims must run a gauntlet to seek justice,” Bryant’s lawyers argued in one of the filings.
But the county contends that the examinations are “a routine part of the discovery process,” according to filings. Bryant and the other plaintiffs are arguing that they suffered emotional distress because of the actions of county employees, and the county believes a medical professional should be allowed to examine the extent of that suffering.
At times, Louis Miller, an attorney representing Los Angeles County, expressed remorse for asking Bryant invasive questions. “It’s not harassment,” Miller said at one point. “It’s just a lawsuit. And I’m so sorry to put you through this, but like I said at the beginning, I’ve got to do my job.”
“I shouldn’t have to be going through this,” Bryant responded. “It’s not just a lawsuit.”
Bryant said that after she was told that she could not fly to the crash site, she met up with Rob Pelinka, the Lakers general manager who served as Kobe’s agent during part of his N.B.A. career. Pelinka, Bryant said, drove them during the hour-and-forty-five-minute trip to the sheriff’s station in Malibu, near the crash site.
At the sheriff’s station, Bryant said “no one would answer” questions about her husband and daughter. She was escorted back and forth between rooms, and after a long wait, she said, a pastor walked in and then Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva came with a publicist. Bryant said she wanted privacy and asked the publicist to leave the room.
Villanueva confirmed the deaths, Bryant said, and asked if he could do anything for her.
“And I said: ‘If you can’t bring my husband and baby back, please make sure that no one takes photographs of them. Please secure the area,’” Bryant said during the deposition. “And he said: ‘I will.’ And I said: ‘No, I need you to get on the phone right now and I need you to make sure you secure the area.’”