SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFTX) — The family of Brian Laundrie filed a motion to dismiss a pending lawsuit filed by the family of his former fiancé, Gabby Petito.
The lawsuit filed March 10 against Brian’s parents, Christopher and Roberta, alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress. Gabby’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, accuse the Laundries of blocking contact with them during their search for their daughter.
“Despite the fact [Petito’s parents] implored Christopher and Roberta Laundrie to tell them if their daughter was alive, and if she was not, where her remains were located, [they] refused to respond to either Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, or law enforcement,” reads part of the suit.
They go on to allege that the Laundries were actively making plans for Brian to leave the country and concealing what they allegedly knew about Petito’s death. “In doing so,” the suit reads, “[the Laundries] acted with malice or great indifference to the rights of Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt.”
In the Laundrie’s March 30 motion to dismiss, attorneys for the family argue that the couple were exercising their constitutional rights:
As a matter of law the Laundries’ silence (conduct) could not form the basis of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Laundries’ constitutional rights and the elements necessary for such a cause of action would not change with an amendment of the Complaint. Furthermore, the time period at issue occurred several months ago and the foundation of the Plaintiffs claimed distress, wanting to find their daughter, has been resolved. There are no more facts that could emerge that would bolster the Plaintiffs’ claim.
The Laundries are asking the case to be dismissed with prejudice, meaning that the ruling is the final judgment in the case. The dismissal prohibits the prosecutor from refiling the charges.
Petito was found strangled to death; her body was left in an area near the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming last year. Authorities attempted to locate Laundrie for questioning soon afterward, only for his body to be found in the Carlton Reserve in Florida in Oct. 2021. Laundrie died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A notebook found by his remains contained what investigators said was an admission to killing Petito.
This story was originally published March 31 by WFTX in Fort Myers, an E.W. Scripps Company.