This has been a truly heartbreaking experience for both families
Written by ABC AUDIO on November 27, 2022
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL — A Sarasota County judge denied a request by the parents of Brian Laundrie to limit the scope of their depositions in a civil lawsuit filed against them by the parents of Gabby Petito.
Petito was killed at the hands of Laundrie in August 2021 at a Wyoming campsite while they were on a cross-country trip. He later took his own life, shooting himself in the head in a Sarasota County park, in September of that year. His remains and a handwritten confession to killing his fiancée were found in October 2021.
Her parents are suing the Laundries for intentional infliction of emotional distress and claimed they knew that their daughter was dead and where her body was during a national search for her.
The case will go before a jury next summer
In the Laundries’ motion to limit their depositions, their attorney, P. Matthew Luka, wrote they’re seeking “a protective order from the court prohibiting the (Petitos) from inquiring into irrelevant matters during their depositions in order to protect them from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, undue burden and expense.”
The attorney added, “This has been a truly heartbreaking experience for both families. The public who followed the case and the (Petitos) are likely curious about Brian Laundrie’s life, his last days, his interaction with his parents, and the thoughts and feelings experienced by his parents. But curiosity is not a reason to require the (Laundries) to discuss such personal and heart wrenching details. Rather, the discovery must be relevant to the cause of action at issue.”
Judge Hunter W. Carroll in Venice denied their request, writing in his response that the Laundries “did not demonstrate good cause for the issuance of a protective order.”
He wrote, “There is no evidence of any prior discovery difficulties in this case. There is no evidence of any medical reason justifying a limitation on depositions. There is no evidence, either proffered or presented, that the court normally sees in a motion for protective order. Instead, (the Laundries’) primary argument justifying the request for protective order is their concern relating to intense media coverage. Media coverage, by itself, though, is not a reason to issue a protective order. That is especially true, here, where (their) proposed limitation would prohibit inquiry into directly relevant topics to this lawsuit. The court sees no reason why it should treat this case differently than the court’s other pending cases.”
In a separate case, a Sarasota County judge last week awarded Petito’s parents $3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Brian Laundrie’s estate.