The parties are scheduled to meet in person the morning of Feb. 21 with mediator W. Andrew Clayton Jr., whose website shows he bills $7,000 or more for a full day for his efforts. Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit and is expected to take part.
Lawyers for both sides were taking part in a case-related deposition Wednesday morning (Jan. 31) and did not immediately respond to FOX News requests for comment.
Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, Petito’s parents, previously rejected a settlement offer, but their attorney, Pat Reilly, has said they would be open to one under different terms. Last week, Reilly asked Bertolino to turn over insurance information that could play a role in any civil judgment or come up in mediation.
If the negotiations fail, a trial date has been scheduled for May 13.
New Jersey lawyer David Gelman, who has been following the case, said the scheduled mediation shows both sides have good faith and are willing to negotiate.
“I would expect if there was a resolution that it would happen very quickly,” he told Fox News Digital. “If it doesn’t happen within a day or two, three days max, then I would say that the mediation is going to fail.”
The scheduled talks come shortly after Reilly dropped efforts to have the court force Bertolino to testify about his private conversations with Brian Laundrie, which he argued are protected by attorney-client privilege.
A successful settlement will avoid the legal costs of a trial and the emotional weight of reliving the highly publicized saga that left both young people dead in 2021.
Read the complete article here.
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