GABBY PETITO INVESTIGATION

Florida judge allows lawsuit filed by Gabby Petito’s parents against Brian Laundrie’s parents to proceed

Jul 1, 2022, 8:25 AM
Joseph Petito, father of Gabby Petito, speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, September 28, 20...
Joseph Petito, father of Gabby Petito, speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. A Florida circuit court judge has ruled a lawsuit filed by Gabby Petito's parents against Brian Laundrie's parents can move forward. (John Minchillo/AP)
(John Minchillo/AP)

(CNN) — A Florida circuit court judge has ruled a lawsuit filed by Gabby Petito’s parents against Brian Laundrie’s parents can move forward.

Circuit Court Judge Hunter Carroll denied a motion from Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, Brian Laundrie’s parents, to dismiss the intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit filed by Gabby Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt.

Gabby, whose disappearance last summer gripped the nation, was found dead in Wyoming after embarking on a cross-country trip with Brian, who was her fiance. A coroner ruled she died by strangulation. After returning to their Florida home alone and then leaving again, Brian was found dead weeks later. A medical examiner ruled he died by suicide.

In Thursday’s order, Carroll wrote that most of the complaints from Petito’s parents “involves the Laundries failing to act,” such as not telling the parents where Gabby was or that she was dead.

Carroll wrote if the case was about the Laundries remaining silent and they had done so, he would have ruled for the Laundries — but they were not silent.

They released a statement through their attorney on September 14, 2021, reading, “On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family.”

“For purposes of the motion to dismiss, the Court must assume the Laundries are responsible for authoring the September 14, 2021 statement issued by their attorney,” Carroll said.

“The Laundries contend that their statement is not outrageous as a matter of law,” the judge’s statement continued. “At oral argument they suggested it merely was a plain statement. Plaintiffs, in contrast, countered during oral argument the statement knowingly was false, designed to create false hope, and issued by the Laundries who knew Gabby was dead and where her body was located.”

The judge wrote the statement alone was not outrageous, but that threshold was surpassed “when juxtaposed with the other conduct in the case.”

Petito’s parents claim the Laundries made the statement knowing Gabby was no longer alive, knowing where her body was located and knowing that her parents were “frantically looking for her,” according to their amended complaint.

“If this is true, then the Laundries’ statement was particularly callous and cruel, and it is sufficiently outrageous to state claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress,” Carroll wrote in the order.

“Because the Laundries’ statement by their attorney in the context of the unique facts of this case is objectively outrageous, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs have stated causes of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress against the Laundries. The Court denies the Laundries’ motion to dismiss,” the judge wrote.

Patrick Reilly, the attorney for Petito’s parents, emailed a statement to CNN saying Gabby’s parents “are appreciative of the thorough and well-reasoned decision of Judge Hunter W Carroll.”

“Joe and Nichole look forward to discovering the information the Laundries knew about Gabby’s death and her whereabouts, and in particular getting a copy of any correspondence, emails and texts exchanged during the difficult period when Gabby’s whereabouts were unknown,” Reilly said.

“They look forward to going to trial and are confident that ultimately the Laundries will be held accountable. At this time, Joe and Nichole do not wish to discuss this matter publicly and ask that you respect their privacy,” the statement read.

CNN has reached out to the Laundries’ attorney for comment.


The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Gabby Petito investigation

FILE - This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle "Gabby" Peti...
Eliza Pace

Family of Gabby Petito files $50 million ‘wrongful death’ lawsuit against Moab PD

Gabby Petito's family announced with their attorneys that they would be filing a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department for the death of their daughter.
5 days ago
Gabby Petito's mother Nichole Schmidt speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, Monday,...
BOBBY CAINA CALVAN, Associated Press

Gabby Petito’s legacy: $100K for domestic violence hotline

The mother of Gabby Petito is keeping the memory of her murdered daughter alive by speaking out on behalf of domestic abuse survivors.
9 days ago
Bodycam footage from the Moab Police Department that shows them talking with Brian Laundrie is seen...
Eliza Pace

Judge denies Brian Laundrie’s parents request to dismiss lawsuit

A circuit court judge denied Roberta and Christopher Laundrie's motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against them by Gabby Petito's parents, Nichole Schmidt and Joseph Petito.
1 month ago
Gabby Petito (Police photo)...
Maria Cartaya, CNN & Ladd Egan, KSL TV

Florida judge is expected to make a decision in coming weeks on a lawsuit by Gabby Petito’s parents

A Florida judge plans to issue an order within the next two weeks on the lawsuit of Gabby Petito's parents against the parents of Brian Laundrie.
2 months ago
Gabby Petito (Police photo)...
Paradise Afshar, CNN

Gabby Petito’s mother files wrongful death lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s estate

Nichole Schmidt, the mother of Gabby Petito, has taken legal action against the estate of Brian Laundrie, by filing a complaint in Sarasota County Friday, in which she asks for monetary compensation for the "wrongful death" of her daughter.
3 months ago
FILE: Gabrielle Petito. (Instagram)...
Josh Ellis

Lifetime to film movie on Gabby Petito murder case in Utah

Lifetime announced plans to film a movie in Utah based on the murder case of Gabby Petito, whose death and disappearance received nationwide attention last year. 
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Florida judge allows lawsuit filed by Gabby Petito’s parents against Brian Laundrie’s parents to proceed