Tue, Jun

The Queen's Emergency


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - In the wake of tragic events, legal battles often emerge to seek justice and accountability. The case that concluded in August involving Vanessa Bryant, widow of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, has sparked public debate over the ethical considerations surrounding lawsuits, their financial implications for taxpayers, and the motivations of attorneys involved. 

The core issue at hand revolves around the mishandling of human remains photographs taken at the site of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and others. 

Vanessa Bryant, understandably aggrieved by the invasion of privacy, pursued legal action against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD). The subsequent trial revealed alleged perjury within the LASD, resulting in a substantial $30 million verdict in favor of Vanessa Bryant and another grieving family. The total bill for the county in this case was $51.3 million in settlements, including the settlement for the Bryant family--not including the Miller Barondess, LLP fees to defend the county.

However, the controversy extends beyond the verdict, raising questions about the appropriateness of seeking significant compensation for an invasion of privacy when the offending images were never publicly disseminated. 

For one thing, legal maneuvers like this, are driven by money-hungry attorneys, who exploit the pain and suffering of victims for financial gain, tarnishing the noble pursuit of justice.  The legal action by Vanessa Bryant created a financial burden placed on taxpayers. It makes no sense for the county to be subjected to such a hefty financial penalty. 

Kobe Bryant's death was certainly tragic, but seeking substantial compensation, particularly when the images in question were not publicly shared, is not appropriate. Huge financial settlements are appropriate in some cases and can genuinely provide solace for the pain endured by a grieving family.  But in this case, the delicate balance between justice and compensation was upended by greed. 

Opportunistic lawyers exploiting their clients' suffering is, in a word, appalling. Vanessa Bryant's legal team pulled a "disgusting move" for financial gain while attempting to characterize it as a noble fight to clean up the Sheriff's and Fire Departments; a mechanism to hold first responders accountable for their actions. 

That's a tough sell to the public who are aware of the county's legitimate financial needs.

Vanessa Bryant's case raises serious ethical considerations inherent in legal battles following tragic events. Huge financial settlements are appropriate in some cases and can genuinely provide solace for the pain endured by a grieving family.

Only through thoughtful examination can we ensure that the pursuit of justice remains a noble endeavor, untainted by opportunism and financial gain.

Vanessa Bryant's legal team convinced her that she should go for financial gain while attempting to characterize it as a noble fight to clean up the Sheriff's Department and Fire Department; a mechanism for holding public officials accountable for their actions.  Ms. Bryant is potentially worth $600 million.

The public is not so rich and not so stupid. This case will do nothing to clean up anything and the County of Los Angeles has a terrible track record of denying good claims, with far more merit and outrage attached.  Many of these are cases in which ordinary impoverished Angelenos incurred real damage.

What this case shows, is how effectively a pack of clever lawyers can take advantage of spiteful and angry individuals to secure financial windfalls, at the taxpayer's expense.  

The jury's verdict reflected a condemnation of the county's action, but the pursuit of financial compensation raises questions in the context of Vanessa Bryant's significant wealth.  It's not that wealth should exempt individuals from seeking civil liability compensation, but it's not always the right thing to do. Vanessa Bryant's case is a textbook example of doing the wrong thing. 

And how much money did Skip Miller's firm, Miller Barondess, LLP, take to defend the County of Los Angeles in this politically charged ... nightmare?

Speed Trapping:

So, they are going to do automated ticketing for speeding starting possibly this coming summer. It will reportedly be $50 for the first citation, but you can get that reduced to $25 by proving that you are low-income. That probably entails going and telling a judge, which is typically... more costly than just paying the $50. 

Low-income people work, so causing them to jump through unnecessary hoops, is cruel. Similar to blocking people from delivering a public comment, until the very end of a city council meeting.  After all the gasbags have complimented one another and touted their own work.  

Smart Speaker:  But remember public trust has been badly eroded. As it relates to ticketing motorists automatically, please keep in mind, that the plan is to ticket motorists who are driving 11 miles over the marked speed limit. 

So,  if you are in a 55 mph zone and the camera snaps your picture going sixty-six miles per hour, you're busted. 


This poem tries to capture the essence of a tranquil night on Old Malibu Road interrupted by a medical crisis with the unique cast of characters among the Road Dogs. The imagery of nature's rhythms in a moonlit scene, with the leader of the pack Kimba, trusty lad Winston, diplomatic Montana, and the stout-hearted Pickles all standing at the ready to do whatever is necessary... 


The Queen's Emergency

In the realm of full moons' gentle glow,

Where darkness yields to silver's show, 

Young buds unfurl in whispered grace, 

Old souls revive in a timeless chase. 


The Queen of Malibu Road emerges near,

Rescuer of Kimba, the top dog, so dear.

Among Road Dogs, the leader of the pack,

fully committed to have "Ruth's back."




Winston, a trusty lad, sturdy and wise, 

Montana, diplomat, with diplomatic ties. 

Pickles, a foot soldier, legs short but stout, 

With an oversized heart, love without doubt.  


Yet, the night unveils a daunting plight, 

As whispers of illness dim the moonlit light. 

Ruth, the Queen, succumbs to the dark, 

A hushed fear echoes through the park.  


Kimba and the Road Dogs, a loyal brigade,

Leap into action, undeterred, unafraid. 

Against impending doom, they stand, 

Defenders of the Queen, a steadfast band.  


The night stretches long, a relentless test, 

Silhouettes against the moon, in vigilance dressed.  

Kimba, loyal guardian in the moon's soft glow, 

With Ruth's peril, she let no fear bestow. 


Standing at the ready, fortitude under stress,

Road Dogs are resilient, facing trials with finesse


Through the night's struggle, a bond intact, 

For in her heart, Kimba will always have "Ruth's back."  

The sun ascends with news of survival, 

Ruth is on the mend, the Queen's revival.  


In daylight, the shadows fade, 

A peace descends a tranquil cascade. 

Animals roam with freedom's ease,

In nature's rhythm, an intoxicating breeze.  


As the mighty ocean surges, a vibrant ballet, 

the Old Malibu Road Dogs hit the surf and play. 


Twenty-One Day Salute:

The Supervisors' last meeting was Tuesday, December 19, 2023. Their next meeting is Tuesday, January 9, 2024. 

The Board of Supervisors has real work to do but is locking arms with the city to shove the general public comment to the bitter end of meetings. The purpose of doing this is crystal clear.  Lindsay P. Horvath and Paul M. Krekorian, want to minimize public scrutiny.  That's a shame and should be corrected. 

Let's commit to be sure that every speaker is heard. Having a beginning, middle, and end opportunity to address the body would be fair and easy to manage. Will they consider such a user-friendly approach? 

We shall see... I wouldn't count on it. 


(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions are of Mr. Preven and not necessarily those of CityWatchLA.com.)