A judge has ruled that the parents of Gabby Petito will be allowed to sue the parents of Brian Laundrie for emotional distress.
The ruling came down on June 22nd, almost a year after Gabby disappeared.
Gabby’s parents filed suit against the Laundries earlier this year, claiming that despite knowing that their son murdered Gabby, the Laundries refused to offer any information about her disappearance and intentionally caused them great emotional distress.
The Laundries have filed countless countersuits attempting to get a judge to throw out the suit by Gabby’s parents.
During the latest court hearing, Judge Hunter Carroll asked about the legal duty of the Laundries to volunteer any information to the parents of Gabby.
A legal team for the Laundries’ claimed that they had no legal obligation to speak up to Schmidt and Petito regarding their daughter’s disappearance.
The judge, however, brought up that the Laundries offered statements through their attorney Steven Bertolino, to the media including one stating: “On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that [she] is reunited with her family,” in September of 2021.
“Because the Laundries’ statement by their attorney in the context of the unique facts of this case is objectively outrageous,” the judge wrote, “the Court concludes that Plaintiffs have stated causes of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress against the Laundries.”
Gabby Petito went missing after embarking on a cross-country road trip with her fiancé Brian Laundrie, in the summer of 2021. Laundrie returned home in July before the trip was scheduled to end, driving Petito’s vehicle. Petito did not return with him.
Gabby’s parents became concerned for their daughter after they could not get ahold of her, and they stopped seeing post updates on her social media.
During the search for Petito, the Laundries refused to give investigators and Gabby’s family any information regarding Gabby’s whereabouts.
She was later found dead in a national park in Wyoming.
An autopsy revealed that she suffered blunt force trauma to the head and neck.
Once Gabby’s body was found, the Laundries went on a camping trip in the Myakkahatchee State Park with their son Brian. While the family returned from the trip, Brian was not with them.
Investigators then began searching for Brian in his last known place.
Brian was eventually found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A diary in his possession revealed that strangled Gabby to death after she fell and injured herself. It also detailed that he was aware of the investigation and that he killed himself hoping it would make Gabby’s parents happy.