NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — The attorney for Brian Laundrie's parents has filed a motion to dismiss the "baseless and frivolous" lawsuit by Gabby Petito's family that alleged Laundrie's parents knew their 23-year-old son had murdered the Long Island native and were attempting to help him flee the country.
Steve Bertolino filed a 20-page motion with a Florida judge on Wednesday, requesting that the case be dismissed because there is insufficient evidence to support their claims of "intentional infliction of emotional distress" and, if the motion is granted, to prevent the filing of an amended lawsuit.
"The Laundries have exercised their constitutional right to refrain from speaking and have relied on counsel to speak for them," Bertolino said in a statement. "This is not only common practice in our civilized society but it embodies the exercise of fundamental rights under the United States and Florida Constitutions."
The motion comes weeks after the family of the slain 22-year-old travel vlogger sued Chris and Roberta Laundrie, alleging they knew their son, who died of an apparent suicide after a manhunt for his arrest, knew he killed her a day after she died, "acted with malice or great indifference to the rights of" her parents, according to their March 10 lawsuit.
It also argues the Laundries were "keeping the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie secret, and it is believed [they] were making arrangements for him to leave the country."
Petito's parents are seeking at least $100,000 in damages for the pain and suffering caused by Laundrie's parents' "willfulness and maliciousness," according to WFLA.
However, Bertolino argues that the rights of Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt are "inalienable" and they "can never be liable for exercising their legal rights in a permissible way."
"The Complaint is insufficient and deficient as a matter of law for many reasons and those deficiencies cannot be cured by an amended Complaint. ... As a matter of law the Laundries’ silence (conduct) could not form the basis of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress," the Laundrie family's motion reads. "The Laundries’ constitutional rights and the elements necessary for such a cause of action would not change with an amendment of the Complaint."
The motion also notes that there is no further evidence that would prove the Petito family's claims of "distress" since the hunt for their daughter's location came to an end with the discovery of her body in Grand Teton Park on Sept. 19.
"The time period at issue occurred several months ago and the foundation of the Plaintiffs claimed distress, wanting to find their daughter, has been resolved," their motion adds. "There are no more facts that could emerge that would bolster the Plaintiffs’ claim."
Bertolino said he and his colleagues are "confident that the constitutional rights of all citizens of this country will be protected by the dismissal of the lawsuit."