Gabby Petito's parents file motion to add Laundrie attorney as defendant in lawsuit

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The attorney for Gabby Petito’s parents has filed a motion to include Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino as a defendant in the lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s parents.

The motion seeks to amend to the complaint filed in Sarasota County Circuit Court last year to add Bertolino as a defendant alongside his clients, Chris and Roberta Laundrie.

Petito’s parents, Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, are suing the Laundries for allegedly knowing their son had murdered Petito and doing nothing but have Bertolino issue a statement expressing hope that Petito would be found.

“It is believed that at the time the September 14, 2021 statement was issued, the Laundries and Steven Bertolino knew that Gabby Petito was deceased and that under those circumstances, the statement was insensitive, cold-hearted, and outrageous,” said Pat Reilly, the attorney for Petito and Schmidt.

“Thus, after much consideration, the parents of Gabby Petito filed a Motion for Leave of Court this afternoon asking the court for permission to file a Second Amended Complaint to add Steven Bertolino as a defendant in the action. Motions of this type are liberally granted by the court. Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt are seeking justice and accountability for the loss of their daughter and the attendant harm caused them.”

Bertolino has not yet responded to’s request for comment.

Earlier this year, Judge Hunter W. Carroll ruled against the Laundries’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Carroll also denied a motion to limit the scope of the Laundrie’s depositions, which are now scheduled for January.

The depositions will mark the first time the parents of Petito and Laundrie will be in the same room since Petito’s murder and Laundrie’s suicide in 2021.

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