Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Gabby Petito's family just won $3 million in a wrongful death suit against Brian Laundrie's estate — but they're not going to get anywhere near that number

Petito-last-insta-postA Florida judge has ruled for Gabby Petito’s parents in the amount of $3 million in the wrongful death suit brought against Brian Laundrie’s estate. Petito and her fiancé, Laundrie, documented their travels across the United States in Petito’s van for social media. The pair became well known after Petito’s disappearance, which sparked national news coverage last summer.

Petito disappeared in late August 2021 and Laundrie raised suspicion when he drove Petito’s van from Wyoming back to his parents house in Florida without her. He was deemed a person of interest, and once his remains and diary were discovered, the FBI closed their investigation concluding that Laundrie killed Petito.

Petito’s parents filed the lawsuit against Laundrie’s estate in May for “damages which exceed $30,000.” Laundrie’s estate totals less than $3 million, which was arbitrary number. In reality, his estate is worth about $20,000. Petito's parents, Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, plan to donate the money to the Gabby Petito Foundation, which they started to support and locate missing persons and provide aid to organizations that assist victims of domestic violence.

For more information see Rebecca Cohen and Natalie Musumeci “Gabby Petito’s family just won $3 million in wrongful death suit against Brian Laundrie’s estate— but they’re not going to get anywhere near that number”, Insider, November 17, 2022.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.


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