Gretchen Rossi has scored a victory in her years-long legal battle.
The Real Housewives of Orange County alum filed her suit against former acquaintance Jay Photoglou in 2010, when she claimed he lied about her being unfaithful to her late fiancé Jeff, according to court papers obtained by The Blast. (She denied the cheating allegations.) She also claimed he stole her personal property, including nude photos released online, and threatened her.
After a jury awarded Rossi $523,250, Photoglou reportedly filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and “attempted to have the judgment discharged.”
Now, a bankruptcy judge has ruled that Photoglou cannot use his bankruptcy filing to avoid paying the damages award, according to the documents.
“IT IS ORDERED: That the CA Court Judgment for the Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and Conversion for $500,000 in compensatory damages and $23,000 in punitive damages is non-dischargeable,” the court documents read.
In an exclusive statement to PEOPLE on Thursday, Rossi said, “I decided enough was enough and to stand up against this individual.”
“I fought this fight not only for myself, but for all the women out there who have been harassed or threatened and for those who were too afraid to speak up, or could not have their voice heard,” she continued. “For those who did not have the financial means to fight, and for those who have been hurt or damaged because of individuals who think this is okay to do this to women.”
In the years since Jeff died in 2009 at the age of 54, the former Bravo personality, who is now engaged to Slade Smiley, has remained in touch with his children.
“I’m actually very, very close to his kids still and they’re doing great. They’re really smart, really good kids. His daughter, Jill, actually moved to California, so I get to see her a lot. She’s right in L.A. Jake moved to California for a little bit, but then he moved back to Michigan,” she told PEOPLE in 2016.
“I’ve made it a really important priority in my life to stay in contact with them. Actually, what’s really cool is Slade has become really close with them too. Sometimes the kids even just call Slade to talk to him, or he’ll call the kids and catch up with them,” she shared. “It’s been really cool to be able to still have them in my life. They’re just good kids. It’s so wonderful to be able to still have that bond and that connection even though Jeff’s gone.”