Attorney Misconduct, Kids, Lawsuit of the Day, Legal Ethics, Ridiculousness, State Judges

Lawsuit of the Day: Next Time Mom Ticks You Off, Just Sue Her

As we mentioned in Morning Docket yesterday, two adult children in Illinois have sued their own mother on the grounds of “bad mothering.” You must be wondering how one qualifies to be a bad enough mother to warrant such a lawsuit. Well, apparently, failing to completely spoil your children will do the trick — especially if your ex-husband, an attorney, has it out for you and is representing the kids.

The lawsuit has since been dismissed, but it was so ridiculous that we thought it deserved its own showcase here on Above the Law. Find out what these snotty little brats alleged against their mother, after the jump….

Before we get to the allegations, let’s keep in mind that prior to divorcing, Steven A. Miner and Kimberly Garrity raised these “children of privilege” in a $1.5 million home in Barrington Hills, Illinois. Barrington Hills is a cushy little village that ranks 88th on the list of highest-income places in the United States. That being said, these children, Kathryn Miner and Steven A. Miner II, probably had it all, but like most rich kids, they wanted more.

The Chicago Tribune has the details on Kimberly Garrity’s alleged misdeeds:

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.

And that’s not all. In addition to forcing her son to wear a seat belt (how dare she), the plethora of complaints against Garrity also includes sending an “inappropriate” birthday card to him (because, obviously, a card without cash or a check enclosed is “inappropriate”), and failing to send him care packages while he was in college. Together, the children sought more than $50,000 from their mother for their alleged “emotional distress.”

You know what? Maybe these things were emotionally distressing when Kathryn and Steven II were younger, but they’re now in their early twenties. I can’t even count the number of times I told my parents that they were “ruining my life” when I was a teenager.

For example, I completely understand Kathryn’s distress over her midnight curfew, because mine was the same. And when I was a freshman and trying to hang out with senior boys from the public high school, that midnight curfew was literally ruining my life.

But now, in my old age, I’m mature enough to understand that my parents were just being good parents, while it appears that Kathryn is still holding a grudge. Maybe her father is to blame? The Chicago Tribune has more information:

Please don't sue me, honey.

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.”

Steven A. Miner, reached by phone, did not comment. In court papers he said he only filed the lawsuit after much legal research and had tried to dissuade his children from bringing the case.

Garrity and Miner were married for ten years before Garrity filed for divorce in 1995. After more than 15 years, is dad still bitter about the divorce? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that Steven Miner has been the subject of ethics allegations. It appears, according to his Avvo profile, that he was placed on probation and has a stayed license suspension on his record from 1998 (hat tip to one of our readers for the details).

That being said, we’re not exactly surprised that Miner would assist his kids in bringing this lawsuit against their own mother. Miner avoided sanctions this time, thanks to a Cook County judge, Kathy Flanagan.

In the end the case was dismissed, because none of Garrity’s conduct was “extreme or outrageous,” though her brats kids may have differing opinions. Ultimately, it’s a good thing that the case ended in a dismissal, because giving even a tiny bit of credence to these claims could have brought a whole slew of ridiculous lawsuits to the courts.

(Or possibly meritorious lawsuits? E.g., Tiger Cub v. Tiger Mother, aka Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld v. Amy Chua?)

I guess the lesson to be learned here is not to spoil your fabulously rich kids rotten, because they’ll just grow up and sue for not spoiling them rotten enough. Kids these days.

‘Bad mothering’ lawsuit dismissed [Chicagoland / Chicago Tribune]
‘Bad Mothering’ Lawsuit Dismissed As ‘Petty Grievance’ [Huffington Post]

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