SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — More than a year after the death of Gabby Petito, a judge has ruled in favor of her family in a wrongful death lawsuit against Brian Laundrie's estate.
The final judgment from the 12th Judicial Circuit Court awards the family $3 million from his estate, court documents show.
While Laundrie's estate may have not been worth that much, plaintiffs Nichole Schmidt and Joe Petito will receive what is left, Schmidt's lawyer reportedly said, according to NewsNation.
"The Petito family lost their daughter and they were also denied the opportunity to confront her killer,” said attorney Patrick Reilly in an email to the Associated Press. “No amount of money is sufficient to compensate the Petito family for the loss of their daughter, Gabby, at the hands of Brian Laundrie.”
According to the Associated Press, a separate lawsuit, still pending in Sarasota, claims Laundrie's parents wrongly concealed that he confessed to killing Petito before he returned home in September 2021 to Florida from their trip out West in a converted van.
This lawsuit is different from the suit filed in early November against the Moab City Police Department.
Lawyers representing Joseph and Tara Petito and Nichole and Jim Schmidt said the purpose of the Utah lawsuit was "honor Gabby's legacy by demanding accountability and working for change in the system — protect victims of domestic abuse and violence. And prevent such tragedies in the future."
Representatives for the family claimed the "signs and symptoms" of intimate partner violence were visible during an interview Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie had with Moab police.
"The signs and symptoms were there when the police interviewed Gabby, but they were not acted upon even though Utah law required it," the representative said.
The family plans to seek $50 million in damages for claims, including the defendants' negligent failure:
- to understand and enforce the law of the state of Utah,
- to investigate Brian's self-evidently false claims during their interviews with him,
- to properly train the officers to investigate domestic violence situations
- and to properly assess the circumstances, including identifying Brian as the true primary aggressor.
Officers Pratt and Robbins are named as defendants in the notice of claim along with Chief Bret Edge, Assistant Chief Braydon Palmer, and the Moab City Police Department.
An independent investigation into the officers' response found that Pratt and Robbins made "several unintentional mistakes" and it was likely that Petito “was a long-term victim of domestic violence, whether that be physically, mentally, and/or emotionally.”