Vanessa Bryant cites her mom’s own testimony in bid to dismiss ‘morally deficient’ lawsuit
Vanessa Bryant is using her mom’s own prior testimony against her in a bid to invalidate a lawsuit claiming the late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant “promised” his mother-in-law a lifetime of support.
In a 43-page dismissal motion filed in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, California, Vanessa’s lawyers call Sofia Urbieta’s Dec. 15 breach of contract suit filed against her daughter and Kobe’s estate “factually, legally and morally deficient.”
They dispute Kobe ever made such a promise before his death in a helicopter crash last year and say Urbieta went on record saying as much during her 2004 spousal support battle.
“Over 10 years ago, in divorce proceedings in this court, Urbieta’s ex-husband, Stephen Laine, attempted to reduce his spousal support payments on the ground that Urbieta was living in a multimillion-dollar home and was being financially supported by the Bryants,” the demurrer from Vanessa’s lawyers that surfaced Monday states.
“Urbieta denied these claims and repeatedly stated that she was not promised financial support and was not receiving any such support from the Bryants,” it argues.
In one court declaration cited in the filing, Urbieta said, “neither of my daughters has any obligation whatsoever, to financially support me. They each have their own lives, children and responsibilities.”
Urbieta further testified that “stories” claiming the Bryants bought her a $1 million home were “absolutely false,” according to the filing.
After she submitted her sworn statements, Urbieta prevailed and was awarded spousal support, the demurrer says.
Four years later during the 2008 recession, Laine petitioned the court to modify his support payments. Urbieta again denied Kobe and Vanessa were supporting her.
“I do not live with (Kobe and Vanessa) now, nor do I permanently reside in a home owned by Vanessa and Kobe as Stephen contends,” she testified.
Again, Urbieta prevailed, and her spousal support remained as it was.
Vanessa’s lawyers were due to argue the dismissal motion last Friday, but the parties have agreed to postpone the showdown to April 23.
In her original complaint filed last year, Urbieta said she had “entered into an oral contract” with Kobe and Vanessa that she counted on as a vow.
“Kobe Bryant repeatedly promised to take care of plaintiff financially for life in exchange for her services as a nanny and caretaker for the Bryants’ children,” her filing said.
She was so convinced of the pact, she even purchased an orthopedic bedroom furniture set for $25,000 shortly before Kobe’s death with the expectation the couple would cover it, she claimed.
“Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant’s promises did not see the light of day as he is now deceased, and Vanessa Bryant took each and every step she could to void and cancel all of Kobe Bryant’s promises,” her lawsuit alleged.
In a prior statement responding to the lawsuit, Vanessa said her mom was trying to “extort a financial windfall from our family.”
“I have supported her for nearly 20 years, and she was never my or Kobe’s personal assistant, nor was she a nanny,” Vanessa, 38, said.
“Earlier this year, I was looking for a new home for her and, a week later, she went on television and gave an interview disparaging our family and making false accusations while living rent-free in a gated apartment complex in Newport Coast,” Vanessa continued.
“Even after that betrayal, I was willing to provide my mother with monthly support for the rest of her life and that wasn’t good enough,” she said.
She said her mother instead “demanded $5 million, a house and a Mercedes SUV.”
“Because I did not give in to her hurtful threats and monetary requests, she has spiraled out of control and is making false and absurd claims,” she said, calling the lawsuit “disgraceful and unimaginably hurtful.”
“My husband never promised my mother anything,” Vanessa said, “and he would be so disappointed in her behavior and lack of empathy.”