Parents of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie in court over lawsuit

Reporter: Marcello Cuadra Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
Trial set to begin Wednesday between the parents of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie. (CREDIT: WINK News)

The parents of Gabby Petito and fiance Brian Laundrie were in court in Sarasota County Wednesday.

Gabby’s parents are suing the Laundries, claiming they knew Gabby was dead and actually hired a lawyer for Brian before Gabby’s body was found last September. The Petitos also claim the Laundries blocked them on social media.

Part of the reason for the lawsuit is, that Gabby’s parents say the Laundries refused to take their phone calls.

The Petito’s filed a lawsuit against the Laundries in March claiming “Intentional infliction of emotional distress.” In the court filings, the Petito family claims that Brian Laundrie’s parents knew that Gabby was dead and knew where Brian left her body, and refused to tell the Petito’s.

The Laundrie family has filed a motion to dismiss the case.

FGCU law professor Pamella Seay said, “A motion to dismiss is telling the court that the original complaint did not provide enough facts on which to base their claim.”

The Laundries say they had no legal duty to speak with the Petito family, saying in part, “The plaintiff’s want liability for the Laundries’ silence.”

Seay says she’s rarely seen a court grant a motion to dismiss.

Seay said, “If there are sufficient facts alleged in the complaint, then more likely than not, it’s going to go forward.”

And now, according to Seay, the Laundries face an uphill battle with this motion.

Seay explains, “It is a very high standard for them to show. And the part of the reason for that high standard is that they are not generally allowed to provide additional information over and above what’s already in the complaint of motion to dismiss.”

If the motion is denied, then Seay said, “The next step will be that the Laundries file an answer to the complaint.”

The hearing is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Sarasota County.

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