A lawsuit filed against Brian Laundrie’s parents is officially moving forward.

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Brian Laundrie’s parents skip hearing on civil lawsuit alleging they knew about Gabby Petito’s murder

Driving the news: Several months after an autopsy ruled that Gabby Petito was killed by strangulation, the young woman’s family sought to bring a lawsuit against the family of Laundrie, Petito’s boyfriend, to trial, the Deseret News previously reported.

A Florida circuit court judge has now ruled that the lawsuit can advance, CNN reported.

What they’re saying: In his decision, Circuit Court Judge Hunter Carroll wrote that Petito’s parents believe the Laundries failed to act — including not providing information on where Petito was or that she had died.

Last year, as Petito’s case gripped the nation, the Laundries released a statement through their attorney on Sept. 14, stating that they hoped “the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family,” CNN reported.

  • “The Laundries contend that their statement is not outrageous as a matter of law,” Carroll wrote in a statement, per CNN. “At oral argument they suggested it merely was a plain statement. Plaintiffs, in contrast, countered during oral argument the statement knowingly was false, designed to create false hope, and issued by the Laundries who knew Gabby was dead and where her body was located.”

Carroll wrote that the statement itself was not outrageous, but became problematic “when juxtaposed with the other conduct in the case.”

  • “Because the Laundries’ statement by their attorney in the context of the unique facts of this case is objectively outrageous, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs have stated causes of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress against the Laundries,” the statement continued. “The Court denies the Laundries’ motion to dismiss.”
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Laundrie’s parents have until July 15 to respond to the allegations Petito’s family has put forth regarding “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” Carroll ruled, per the New York Post.

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More about the lawsuit: Petito’s parents are seeking “more than $30,000 in damages for the mental anguish they suffered due to the alleged deceit of the Laundries,” according to People magazine.

  • The lawsuit, filed earlier this year, alleges that Laundrie’s parents helped their son hide the homicide, and were also making plans for him to leave the country, the Deseret News reported.
  • A lawyer representing the Laundries has argued that “the law did not oblige them to disclose any information on Gabby Petito and that they had a First Amendment right not to speak,” ABC News reported.

Furthermore: This update comes nearly two weeks after contents of Laundrie’s confession were revealed — including Laundrie’s belief that ending Petito’s life was “merciful,” the Deseret News reported.

  • “I don’t know the extent of Gabby’s injurys (sic). Only that she was in extreme pain,” he wrote in a notebook, per the Deseret News. “But from the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn’t go on without her.”

A recent piece in Vanity Fair provides a reconstruction of Petito’s final days, covering the young woman’s relationship with Laundrie and the events leading up to her death.

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