Kids Sue Mom for “Bad Mothering” But Judge Dismisses Case

gavelLast week an Illinois appeals court dismissed a case brought by two children against their mom for “bad mothering,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

Steven Miner II, 23, and his sister Kathryn, 20, of Barrington Hills, Illinois, filed the suit against Kimberly Garrity two years ago, asking for more than $50,000 for “emotional distress.”

What qualified as “bad mothering?” From the Tribune:

The alleged offenses include failing to take her daughter to a car show, telling her then-7-year-old son to buckle his seat belt or she would contact police, “haggling” over the amount to spend on party dresses and calling her daughter at midnight to ask that she return home from celebrating homecoming.

The story continues:

Among the exhibits filed in the case is a birthday card Garrity sent her son, who in his lawsuit sought damages because the card was “inappropriate” and failed to include cash or a check. He also alleged she failed to send a card for years or, while he was in college, care packages.

The siblings were represented by three attorneys including their father, Steven A. Miner. According to the Tribune, Garrity divorced Miner in 1995 after ten years of marriage.

The father asserted that this case was “no different from a patient suing a physician ‘for bad doctoring.’” In court papers, he wrote, “Everyone makes mistakes, but … there must be accountability for actions. Parenting is no different.”

The mother’s attorney said the children’s suit was “orchestrated by their father.” From the Tribune:

In court papers, Garrity’s attorney Shelley Smith said the “litany of childish complaints and ingratitude” in the lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt by Garrity’s ex-husband to “seek the ultimate revenge” of having her children accuse her of “being an inadequate mother.”

In dismissing the case, the court said mother’s conduct was not “extreme or outrageous.” A victory for the kids, it said, “could potentially open the floodgates to subject family child rearing to … excessive judicial scrutiny and interference.”

(image via: http://www.econ.ucsb.edu)

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  1. by Kara

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Are you serious? Not giving money or care pacakges? Telling a child to buckle their seat belt? Calling the police comment was not needed, but come on! I can’t believe this was even brought before a judge! They should be ashamed of themselves. Poor mom.

  2. by Cindy

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I think the judge should fine the lawyers and the father for wasting the courts time on such nonsense!

  3. by Lysbeth

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:09 am

    This is why we need tort reform. Bad lawyers that waste time and money like this. This mother did more appropriate things than most. The “evidence” merely by being entered suggests that these idiot kids are exactly why this country is in the position it is in. They feel they are entitled to the best of everything.

    And the father ‘parenting is just like being a doctor’ and you have to pay for the mistakes and there has to be accountability. I’m sorry, did I miss the parenting school they sent all the other parents to for 8 years? That father should be disbarred and the kids should have to pay for ALL court costs and do community service for . . . ever! Idiots. That mom did the best she could with what she had being a single mom. Deadbeat dad trying to get back at mom is what I see.

  4. by Jane

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:10 am

    countersue for elder neglect and lost funds due to lawyers’ fees.

  5. by Stephanie

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Wow, what has the world come to? I truly feel sorry for the mother that sounds absolutely normal! The problem with kids today is a lack of respect and parents have lost complete control over their own rights! Those kids are ungrateful and need their heads examined, and I hope in return when they have there own children they will realize the pain and humiliation they caused their mother, the one who fed them and loved them!

  6. by Erin

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Wow! What is wrong with kids now a days? They think they are so entitled! That mother sounds like a good one. She was strict and kept her kids safe. What may have happened to the daughter after midnight on homecoming would have been far more emotionally damaging! They should be grateful she cared about them. My mom couldn’t afford to send care packages in college, but I didn’t care… when she’d come to visit it was so much better!

  7. by Traci

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I don’t see anything wrong with her parenting skills. I mean come on… look at these parents who actually abused their kids and nothing gets done. It is a case of selfishness, and lack of respect and appreciation. Heck, my mom called the cops on my nephew for drugs and theft. Later, he sent my mom a letter from prison thanking her for not being a pushover. I agree with you Cindy, the attorneys, kids and ex husband all need to be fined for filing a frivolous lawsuit. She should sue them for defamation of character.

  8. by courtnee

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Wow, can’t believe they actually sued for that,I say just move on and live your own life. I’ve been through worse with my grandma not to mention a few demons in my past as well and never had I thought about sueing just getting away from the person I even have friends that had it bad parents that adopted them and then treated them like they didn’t want them and there in the way. Maybe mama should of been meaner told her no party for her and make her scrub the floors with a tooth brush. maybe one day they will regret their childish self absorbed spoiled behavior.

  9. by Courtnee

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Please note I don’t think mom was mean at all. She sounds like a good mom. I just don’t think those kids know what emotional distress is I’ll be sure to lend them the person in my family who causes everyone emotional distress. It’s normal to have a parent who set curfews and thinks you should work for what you have. Ask me the daughter was spoiled to get a dress.

  10. by Traci

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I agree Courtnee. When I was in high school, my curfew was the grade I was in. If I was out 1 min. later I’d be in trouble. My mom and step dad were good parents and I thank them for the way they raised me. I really feel sorry for these kids’ kids. Oh, and I’ve told my kids if they were bad and did things to get into trouble they would end up in jail like their uncle. They went to visit him in prison and both say they do not want any part of that.

  11. by shelva

    On August 31, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Cannot believe this really happened! Really hope the father and kids had to pay her court costs, as well as for any days missed from work and for HER emotional distress.

  12. by janet

    On August 31, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    what a couple of ungrateful brats! can’t wait to see how THEIR kids turn out!

  13. by Ashley

    On August 31, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    There are children out there whose parents really are harming them with abuse and neglect. I am deeply offended that they even considered not getting a birth day card as bad parenting. I am so mad I cant even think straight.

  14. by Elizabeth

    On August 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    “Litany of childish complaints and ingratitude” is exactly right. “Bad mothering” is at the very least, overindulgence and allowing your child to not wear his seatbelt. Really, though, “bad mothering” is being abusive and neglectful. It sounds like this mom had reasonable boundaries and was concerned about the safety of her children. How incredibly painful it must be to have your children sue you over such trivial events!!!!

  15. by Gayle

    On August 31, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Another case of a parent putting the children in the middle and using them as “spite kids”…These parents never have the child’s best interest in mind!

  16. by Jennifer

    On August 31, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Wow. This poor mother. Sounds like a case of a couple of brain washed kids. What kind of ” kool aid” is their father giving them? This is absolutely ridiculous. The father should be the one being charged for bad fathering after this.

  17. by Jessica

    On August 31, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Oh my! WHat is this world coming to! Sometimes I think I was just born in the wrong era. Kids should be more respectful then that. This is silly and childish.

  18. by SA

    On August 31, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    I’d love to sue our abusive bio parents for the lifelong damage (15 years of cutting for me) they caused us. We only lived with them for about 3 years before we were taken away but some things you just can’t forget. I’d give half the damages to my adoptive parents to try to pay back for all the therapy & meds costs over the years. These two kids sound like spoiled selfish brats, and the father sounds like a bitter ex that ran out of other options to annoy his ex-wife.

  19. by Ivan Bawa

    On August 31, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    When lawyers refuse to even consider accepting stupid cases like this, America might be on the way to becoming more of a dignified, sensible and just place. It will take more than that. It’s not just the lawyers, but that would be a good way to start.

  20. by Hibernia86

    On September 1, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Sheesh. I’m on the fence about suing parents because of bad parenting, but if someone is trying to convince me, they need to come up with a much better example than this. This case is just a waste of time.

  21. by Rachel

    On September 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    This is sad. There actually are parents out there that abuse and hurt their children yet these (seemingly) spoiled kids are making a joke out of what could be an interesting dilemma. If child abuse or neglect had of occurred, would that have been grounds for a reasonable lawsuit or did the judge just make a statement against getting involved in any type of child rearing processes.

  22. by M

    On September 2, 2011 at 1:34 am

    I’m guessing there is more to this story than what is written here.. the five examples , in themselves is hardly a ““litany” I think there are probably some ligitimate issues as well as the obviouosly trivial ones presented in this article to show the mother in the best light and get exactly the response from the readers as seen in the pervious comments… rarely are such family dynamics quite so black and white…..

  23. by janeyre

    On September 3, 2011 at 6:45 am

    The father is a dork. The children are wacky… Hopefully the mother can get on with her life.

  24. by Lynn Mullens

    On September 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Wow!!! Well if that is the definition of a bad mother then I must be the worst in the world, lol. Our car doesn’t move until the belts are buckled, If they act up in a store we leave without getting anything, and we have a curfew in our house and if your more than 30 minutes late I come looking for you. You have to have boundaries and rules!!!!These kids need a butt whooping or serious time on the time out chair, even at their age.

  25. by Huh?

    On September 9, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Don’t sue your mom. She had to wipe your butt and you most likely already peed on her.

  26. by Donna Scott

    On September 9, 2011 at 8:41 am

    The bible states that children are to “honor thy father and thy mother” and to do otherwise would cause a life of misery. Why do children feel so entitled? Because parents give them too much materially and financially. These children have it made compared to other children that are literally suffering at the hands of parents.

  27. by Heidi

    On September 13, 2011 at 1:58 am

    Here’s anidea, the mother in question should counter-sue the grown children for “bad childing” and her ex for “bad husbanding!”

  28. by Dave Mathers

    On September 14, 2011 at 9:06 am

    The vengeful father obviously started this charade. He should be charged with ‘bad lawyering’ and ‘bad fathering’. What a joke.

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    On September 16, 2011 at 4:34 am

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  30. by Derek

    On September 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Who does the father think he is? This is the way you choose to get back at your ex? Enable your children to become spoiled brats thinking they are entitled to everything. Another shiny example of bad parents who think being an individual is more important than being a responsible adult of a child and teaching they proper before actually becoming an adult. Kudos to the mother and the judge for throwing this crock out of court.

  31. by Jeeni Zucchini

    On September 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I see bad mothers all the time on the bus and train… and I ocasionally see wonderful mothers. But considering the truly ‘horrible’ mothers that exist… and the children that truly need to be rescued from them… this case is a waste of time… and an insult to truly abused children

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  33. by Forex Club

    On September 22, 2011 at 6:08 am

    All that to say, I dont get the impression they are much concerned with what you do other than the child has read the material and can pass the test.

  34. by Vicki

    On September 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    There are attorneys everywhere willing to take anyone’s money for cases that don’t have merit. Those attorneys should have to appear before the Supreme Court Disciplinary Counsel to prove this was not a frivolous lawsuit. If SC finds no merit in taking this case the attorneys should have to award the Mom damages!

  35. by Julie

    On October 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Hope she got attorney’s fees + should file suit for frivolous prosecution. Figures the ex is behind it!

  36. by Jamie

    On October 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Well, I’d say if the adult children she raised are suing her, she indeed was unsuccessful as a parent. It’s unfortunate that there are two more ungrateful no-getters in the world.

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  39. by Karen

    On January 28, 2012 at 10:14 am

    She sounds like an excellent mother to me!

  40. by KariB

    On January 29, 2012 at 9:20 am

    These spoiled children have been encouraged by a vindictive ex husband! If this is all the children have to complain about they are lucky children. They need to grow up and experience life before they judge their mother! I was raised by abusive and neglectful parents, these children do not have a clue about abuse. The mother should sue the children and ex husband for attorney fees and pain and suffering. The mother appears to be the abused one in this situation! She has a vindictive ex husband (probably why she divorced him!) and ungrateful spoiled children!

  41. by Jean Baum

    On February 8, 2012 at 8:01 am

    WOW! My family life was bad as a kid and I never once sued my mother or father or step-mother who was physically and mentally abusive. I have PTSD from the stuff I dealt with in my childhood and I never sought out restitution from my parents for the trauma. I am now a better parent to my own kids because of what I went through as a child and my years of therapy. I even have my oldest child in therapy because I am divorced from his father and he has to deal with two home lives. I think this is the worst thing I have ever heard of in the news and legal system in this country. When did America turn into this sue happy, blame everyone else for our shortcomings, country? They should be ashamed of themselves for even considering this, let alone making the rest of our country look worse because of it. Way to waste money there, LOL.

  42. by Steve

    On May 11, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Rather hypocritical of the Father who wasn’t present to raise his kids to now criticize the mother he left to raise his children.

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