VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida judge has denied motions to dismiss the civil lawsuit filed by Gabby Petito’s parents against the parents of Brian Laundrie, a ruling that sets the stage for a jury trial next year.
Judge Danielle Brewer issued the rulings Thursday in Sarasota County Circuit Court after attempts by the Laundries and their longtime family attorney Steven Bertolino, a co-defendant in the case, to have the suit thrown out.
The ruling is another pre-trial victory for Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, Gabby’s parents, who filed a lawsuit against the Laundries last year for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Petito and Schmidt claim Brian’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, and Bertolino were aware Brian had murdered Gabby in August 2021 but chose to do nothing other than release a statement expressing hope their daughter would be found.
The lawsuit survived dismissal attempts by the Laundries last year, but Bertolino’s late addition as a co-defendant provided a new opportunity for motions for dismissal to be filed. Oral arguments on the motions to dismiss were heard in court last month during the same proceeding where Judge Brewer ruled in favor of granting the Petito and Schmidt family a copy of Roberta’s infamous “burn after reading” letter.
Petito and Schmidt attorney Pat Reilly tells WFLA.com that he is “hopeful” he will obtain FBI records of the private text messages and emails sent between Brian and his parents around the time of Gabby’s murder. Reilly says he subpoened for the FBI evidence in addition to filing a motion for the messages in the civil lawsuit.
The trial is scheduled for May 13, 2024 in Sarasota County court.
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