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Gabby Petito’s parents reached a $3 million settlement in a lawsuit against the estate of her fiancé Brian Laundrie—but they don't expect to collect anything close to that.
Circuit Judge Hunter W. Carroll entered the judgment in favor of Gabby’s parents Nichole Schmidt and Joseph Petito Thursday, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
The civil lawsuit had been filed against Barry S. Spivey, who is serving as the curator of Laundrie’s estate.
“The Petito family lost their daughter, and they were also denied the opportunity to confront her killer,” the Petito family attorney Patrick Reilly said in a statement to Oxygen.com after the decision. “No amount of money is sufficient to compensate the Petito family for the loss of their daughter, Gabby, at the hands of Brian Laundrie.”
Reilly went on to say that Brian did “not have $3 million” and said the figure reached was an “arbitrary number.”
“Whatever monies they do receive will help Gabby’s family in their endeavors with the Gabby Petito Foundation,” he said.
Steve Bertolino, an attorney representing the Laundrie family, told Insider that Laundrie’s estate only has about $20,000.
“Hopefully, this brings some closure to this one chapter of this tragedy,” he said in a statement to Oxygen.com, saying he had agreed to work with Reilly to come up with a settlement to save the expense of a trial after realizing "a money judgment was unavoidable."
Bertolino added that he was looking forward to working with Reilly to also try to resolve outstanding litigation by Petito’s family against Chris and Roberta Laundrie.
The Petito family sued Brian’s parents earlier this year, accusing them of keeping Brian’s whereabouts a secret in the days after the murder and trying to help him flee the country.
As part of the suit, they accuse Christopher and Roberta of “extreme and outrageous conduct” that went “beyond all possible bounds of decency,” according to the civil suit previously obtained by Oxygen.com.
Gabby Petito was killed last year during a cross-country trek with her fiancé Brian to visit the nation’s national parks. Her body was discovered in September of 2021 in Grand Teton National Park.
Brian disappeared shortly after Gabby was reported missing. His remains were found in October of 2021 in a Florida nature preserve after authorities say he took his own life. Near his remains, investigators found a notebook where Brian claimed responsibility for Petito’s death.
Earlier this month, Petito’s parents also filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Moab Police Department in Utah, alleging that officers who stopped the couple on Aug. 12, 2021 in reference to a domestic violence incident did not do enough to protect her.
Reilly told Oxygen.com that Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt are now focused on turning “their personal tragedy into a positive” through the Gabby Petito Foundation, which aims to provide support in other missing persons cases and assist victims of domestic violence.
“It is their hope that Gabby’s foundation will bring these important issues to the forefront of the public eye to the benefit of all our communities,” he said.
Oxygen.com reached out to Bertolino but did not receive an immediate response.
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