Gabby Petito’s family awarded $3M in wrongful death lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s estate – ABC News

A Florida judge has awarded Gabby Petito’s family $3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Brian Laundrie’s estate.

Sarasota County Circuit Judge Hunter Carroll issued the order in a judgment filed on Thursday.

PHOTO: Gabby Petito's mother Nichole Schmidt, speaks during a news conference as her husband Jim Schmidt looks on, Nov. 3, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

Gabby Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt, speaks during a news conference as her husband Jim Schmidt looks on, Nov. 3, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

Rick Bowmer/AP

The lawsuit claimed that Laundrie intentionally killed the 22-year-old travel blogger, and as a direct result of his conduct, Petito’s mother and father — Nichole Schmidt and Joseph Petito — “incurred funeral and burial expenses, and they have suffered a loss of care and comfort, and suffered a loss of probable future companionship, society and comfort.”

The complaint was seeking at least $30,000 in damages. It was filed in May by Schmidt, the administrator of Petito’s estate, against Barry Spivey, the court-appointed curator of Laundrie’s estate. Reached for comment at the time, Spivey said he was acting in a “very limited role.”

Petito’s family reported her missing on Sept. 11, 2021, while she was on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie. Her body was found about a week later in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest, with a coroner ruling that she had died of “blunt-force injuries to the head and neck, with manual strangulation.”

Laundrie, who was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, wrote in a notebook that he killed Petito, according to the FBI.

An attorney for the Petito family said whatever settlement money is received would go to the Gabby Petito Foundation, which was formed by her family after her death to help fight domestic violence and find missing persons.

“No amount of money is sufficient to compensate the Petito family for the loss of their daughter, Gabby, at the hands of Brian Laundrie,” the attorney, Patrick Reilly, said in a statement. “Brian did not have $3 million; it’s an arbitrary number.”

A trial, which had been scheduled for December, will no longer be held as a result of the judgment, he said.

PHOTO: FILE- In this image taken from police body camera video provided by The Moab Police Dept, Brian Laundrie talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle Petito, in Utah on Aug. 12, 2021.

In this image taken from police body camera video provided by The Moab Police Department, Brian Laundrie talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park in Utah on Aug. 12, 2021.

AP/FILE

Steve Bertolino, an attorney for the Laundrie family, said he worked with Reilly to reach a settlement “to avoid the expense of a trial when the outcome of a money judgment was unavoidable.”

“Hopefully, this brings some closure to this one chapter of this tragedy,” Bertolino said in a statement.

This is one of several lawsuits involving the death of Petito.

In a civil lawsuit filed in Florida in March against Laundrie’s parents, Petito’s parents alleged that Laundrie’s parents knew he killed her and were trying to help him flee. Attorneys for Christopher and Roberta Laundrie denied the allegations and unsuccessfully sought to dismiss the lawsuit. A jury trial in the case is scheduled to begin in August 2023.

Bertolino said Thursday that he looks forward to working with Reilly “to resolve the litigation pending” against the Laundries.

Earlier this month, the parents of Gabby Petito filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department in Moab, Utah, where she and Laundrie were questioned about a possible domestic dispute weeks before she was reported missing.

ABC News’ Henderson Hewes contributed to this report.

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