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Children gone wild? Lawsuit against mom for bad parenting dismissed

 

Children gone wild? Lawsuit against mom for bad parenting dismissed

The Appellate Court of Illinois, First Judicial District in a decision dated July 29th, 2011 affirmed a trial court’s decision which dismissed a law suit by two children against their mother for bad parenting.

The adult children, at the time of the law suit and appeal, Steven and Katherine Miner made claims against their mother Kimberly Garrity for damages excess of $50,000 for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress, as well as punitive damages as a result of  “bad mothering”.

 

Keeping with our top 15 format of our previous blogs, we have summarized in no particular order the top 15 complaints of Steven and Kimberly against their mother:

1.  mom allegedly treated the siblings unequally in an attempt to “pit the siblings against each other”;

 

2.  mom would give clothes and toys to Kathryn during her visits, but she did not give anything to Steven;

 

3.  when both the children attended events with mom, mom would allegedly dote on Steven and ignore Kathryn’s requests;

 

4.  mom willingly contributed to Steven’s purchase of an all-terrain vehicle, but when Kathryn asked for money for homecoming, for disco dances in 2006 and 2007, and for her graduation dress in 2009, mom allegedly “engaged in bartering and haggling”;

 

5.   mom allegedly failed to send Christmas and birthday presents to Steven from 1996 to 2005 and failed to send presents to Kathryn in 2007;

 

6.  when mom sent cards to them, she often “forgets that STEVEN and KATHRYN are children, failing to include any type of gift in the card”;

 

7.  mom allegedly “smacked him to the head”;

 

8.  Steven gave his mom a popsicle stick jewelry box for Mother’s Day. He subsequently asked her to give the box back. When the mother refused, Steven took the box anyway. Mom then allegedly claimed that she had a diamond necklace in that box and called the police to report that Steven had stolen it;

 

9.  during a car ride, the mother told Steven that if he did not buckle his seatbelt, she would drive to the police station and tell the police that he would not put his seatbelt on;

 

10.  when Steven was at college, mom did not send Steven any care packages until his 6th semester when she was prompted to do so by his father;

 

11.  after the divorce, mom remarried and changed her surname, thus “causing attention” whenever she attended events at Kathryn’s school because of their different surnames;

 

12.  Kathryn visited mom’s house on weekends. Mom did not keep allergy medications in her house, so Kathryn was, in the words of the complaint, “forced” to bring her own medications;

 

13.  when mom would pick Kathryn up after school on Fridays, she would not drive Kathryn to her father’s house so that Kathryn could pick up her weekend bag. As a result, Kathryn was “forced” to bring her weekend bag to school with her on Fridays;

 

14.  mom refused to purchase Kathryn a dress for homecoming in 2007. She provided an automobile, but at midnight, when Kathryn was with her friends, mom allegedly contacted Kathryn and made her return the automobile;

 

15.  mom asked Kathryn to attend an event at her church to bless new students who would be attending college in the fall. Kathryn attended that event, although she did not want to. However, mom did not attend the event;

A sad state of affairs indeed.  Fortunately, the claim was unsuccessful as the court found that the children had no cause of action.  If successful, the floodgates would have been opened for children to rehash wrongs they feel may have occurred during their childhoods. 

There is something to be said for water under the bridge. In a further twist, the court noted in a footnote that the children’s father was one the attorneys for the plaintiffs.

The Appellate Court’s decision can be found at http://bit.ly/pKZrb9

 

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit www.RussellAlexander.com

You can also visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RussellAlexanderFamilyLawyers

15 Best Quips by Justice Quinn in Pirbhai v. Singh

15 Best Quips by Justice Quinn in Pirbhai v. Singh

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released the 2010 decision of Justice Quinn in the case of Kalinuddin Pirbhai v. Gurnek Singh on May 7th, 2010.

This is another decision filled with wry quips and comments by Justice Quinn. The background and outcome of the Singh decision can be found in earlier blog Quinn’s Quips Continue: More Quips from Mr. Justice Quinn http://bit.ly/l0Tt86

Keeping with the 15 Best Quips format we decided to highlight some of Justice Quinn’s more colourful and pointed comments. Justice Quinn’s judicious use of humor and wry quips continue to provide fodder for bloggers and legal commentators.

Here we go:

1. A friend of a friend is not necessarily your friend.

2. In 1999, the plaintiff was in the market for a used, high-end motor vehicle. A friend of his said that he had a friend who could supply such a vehicle. Ten years, and 31 days of trial, later, that transaction is finally completed. The plaintiff ended up with an expensive bargain.

3. The trial was most notable for revealing the defendant, Gurnek Singh (“Singh”), to be unblinkingly dishonest. He shows no aptitude for the truth; he is without a conscience; he is incorrigible.

4. Singh, on the other hand, is a devious man and an unbelievable witness who will do or say anything to advance his position. He was maddeningly unwilling to respond to the simplest of questions and often had to be asked the same question over and over (no doubt using the time gained to visit his pantry of untruthful answers).

5. Indeed, by the end of the trial, if Singh were to have testified that the world was round, I immediately would have sought membership in the Flat Earth Society.

6. Throughout the trial, I patiently waited for a Phoenix-like moment that might serve to rehabilitate his credibility: it never came. All in all, he was an exasperating witness who told untruths too numerous to catalogue and insulting in their breadth.

7. I feel somewhat responsible for this as I must have done or said something during the trial that caused Singh to believe that I was dim-witted.

8. There is no suggestion that Singh was the victim of a rogue employee or that there was a faxing poltergeist bumping about Brampton Auto.

9. Singh deposited the cheque to his personal bank account and thought that his splendid skullduggery had succeeded.

10. the plaintiff took the Lexus for a drive. He noted that the vehicle swayed, swerved, wobbled and emitted unusual noises. He also observed that it seemed to have a number of body parts that did not match [with the endnote] .. Something of an automotive Frankenstein.

11. Singh abandoned the Toyota story, said “Yes,” this document related to the Lexus, and offered an explanation that fell somewhere between a yarn and a fairy tale.

12. Singh’s evidence, in this area of the case, is an example of the elaborate lengths to which he was prepared to go to deceive the court. If lies were clothes, Singh would have been considerably overdressed for the trial.

13. Singh maintained that he did not receive this fax. However, the telephone records of the plaintiff establish that it was sent as he testified. Singh, overestimating the obtuseness of his audience, straight-facedly testified that perhaps the plaintiff had faxed a blank piece of paper. Singh did not produce any telephone records for this time-frame.

14. Singh’s casual and haphazard approach to his business and corporate structure and, more importantly, his fraudulent conduct in this case, vitiate the benefit of limited liability available through the process of incorporation and, therefore, in my opinion, attract personal liability. The corporate veil here was more of a bandit’s mask.

15. I have not said anything about a counterclaim made by Singh and that is because it was advanced with more nerve than merit. At that point in the trial, Singh’s credibility had immolated and the court was up to its sash in falsehoods.

Justice Quinn’s full decision is available at http://bit.ly/nsaDn9

Is this Canada’s very own Jerry McGuire? Kai Nagata Blogs about why he quit his job at CTV

Is this Canada’s very own Jerry McGuire? Kai Nagata Blogs about why he quit his job at CTV

Nagata was CTV’s Quebec City Bureau Chief. He described himself as “.. a full-time employee making good money, with comprehensive benefits and retirement options”. But he reached a “breaking point” and described his experiences in the T.V. industry and his reasons for quitting at length in his blog. The blog has since gone viral and Nagata has become an overnight celebrity.

The Blog posting reminded me somewhat of the 1996 film Jerry McGuire and the lead character played by Tom Cruise. McGuire writes a mission statement about perceived dishonesty in the sports management business and how he believes that it should be operated.

Perhaps more importantly, the blog speaks to the power of social media and the disconnect many people experience with traditional media. I wonder what communications guru Marshall McLuhan would make of all this? Truly the medium here is the message.

Here are the 15 Best Quips by Kai Nagata from his blog “Why I quit my job”:

1. I quit my job because the idea burrowed into my mind that, on the long list of things I could be doing, television news is not the best use of my short life. The ends no longer justified the means.

2. Although bounded by certain federal regulations, most of what you see in a newscast is actually defined by an internal code – an editorial tradition handed down from one generation to the next – but the key is, it’s self-enforced. … Underneath this lies the fact that information is a commodity, and private TV networks are supposed to make money.

3. Consider Fox News. What the Murdoch model demonstrated was that facts and truth could be replaced by ideology, with viewership and revenue going up. Simply put, you can tell less truth and make more money.

4. Human beings don’t always like good nourishment. We seem to love white sugar, and unless we understand why we feel nauseated and disoriented after binging on sweets, we’ll just keep going. People like low-nutrition TV, too. And that shapes the internal, self-regulated editorial culture of news.

5. I admit felt a profound discomfort working in an industry that so casually sexualizes its workforce. Every hiring decision is scrutinized using a skewed, unspoken ratio of talent to attractiveness, where attractiveness often compensates for a glaring lack of other qualifications. The insecurity, self doubt, and body-image issues endured by otherwise confident, intelligent journalists would break your heart.

6. The idea has taken root that if the people reporting the news look like your family and neighbours, instead of Barbie and Ken, the station will lose viewers.

7. Aside from feeling sexually attracted to the people on screen, the target viewer, according to consultants, is also supposed to like easy stories that reinforce beliefs they already hold.

8. More damnably, the resulting strategy is now to compete with for-profit networks for the lowest hanging fruit. In this race to the bottom, the less time and money the CBC devotes to enterprise journalism, the less motivation there is for the private networks to maintain credibility by funding their own investigative teams. Even then, “consumer protection” content has largely replaced political accountability.

9. On a weekend where there was real news happening in Bangkok, Misrata, Athens, Washington, and around the world, what we saw instead was a breathless gaggle of normally credible journalists, gushing in live hit after live hit about how the prince is young and his wife is pretty. And the public broadcaster led the charge.

10. Aside from being overrun by “Action News” prophets from Iowa, the CBC has another problem: the perception that it’s somehow a haven for left-wing subversives. True or not, the CBC was worried enough about its pinko problem to commission an independent audit of its coverage, in which more consultants tried to quantify “left-wing bias” and, presumably using stopwatches, demonstrate that the CBC gives the Conservative government airtime commensurate with the proportion of seats it holds in the House of Commons. Or something like that.

11. The stodgy, neutral, unbiased broadcaster trope is played for jokes before the Sun News team gleefully rips into its targets. But Canada has no Jon Stewart to unravel their ideology and act as a counterweight. Our satirists are toothless and boring, with the notable exception of Jean-René Dufort

12. The Canadian right wing, if you want to call it that, has had five years to get the gloves off. With a majority Conservative government in power, they’re putting on brass knuckles.

13. If a woman needs to get an abortion or a gay couple wants to get married, one minister’s opinion shouldn’t be relevant. …. And when science debunks ideology, reason should be allowed to prevail in determining public policy.

14. Centuries of rational thought and academic tradition, dating back to the Renaissance, is being thrown out the window in favour of an ideology that doesn’t reflect reality.

15. I’m broke, and yet I know I’m rich in love. I’m unemployed and homeless, but I’ve never been more free.

Well Nagata’s blog certainly makes for an interesting read and Nagata’s take on traditional media, Canadian politics and his powerlessness in reporting and initiating change provides us with a unique perspective to consider.

Best of luck Nagata in your journey of personal discovery and future endeavours. Nagata’s full blog can be found at http://bit.ly/rctrlc

15 Best Quips by Justice Quinn in Bruni v. Bruni

15 Best Quips by Justice Quinn in Bruni v. Bruni

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released the 2010 decision of Justice Quinn in the case of Catherine Bruni v. Larry Bruni on November 29, 2010.

In decision filled with wry quips and comments by Justice Quinn, the court awards, amongst other things, monthly spousal support in the amount of one dollar.

Decide for yourself whether the Justice Quinn’s judicious use of humor is necessary, appropriate or fitting for the Superior Court.

Here we go:

1. Justice Quinn commences his Reasons for Judgment with the first paragraph simply stating: “Paging Dr. Freud. Paging Dr. Freud.”

2. “Here, a husband and wife have been marinating in a mutual hatred so intense as to surely amount to a personality disorder requiring treatment.”

3. “The source of the difficulties is hatred: a hardened, harmful, high-octane hatred. Larry and Catherine hate each other, as do Larry and Sam. This hatred has raged unabated since the date of separation. Consequently, the likelihood of an amicable resolution is laughable (hatred devours reason); and, a satisfactory legal solution is impossible (hatred has no legal remedy).”

4. “Catherine and Larry were married on October 7, 1995. If only the wedding guests, who tinkled their wine glasses as encouragement for the traditional bussing of the bride and groom, could see the couple now.” And then later in an endnote “I am prepared to certify a class action for the return of all wedding gifts.”

5. “Some family trees have more barren branches than others.”

6. “As can be seen, Catherine and her relatives are one-dimensional problem solvers.”

7. “I find that Sandra does not exert a positive gravitational pull in this dysfunctional family constellation.”

8. “The legal system does not have the resources to monitor a schedule of counselling (nor should it do so). The function of Family Court is not to change people, but to dispose of their disputes at a given point in time. I preside over a court, not a church.”

9. “I come now to the issue of spousal support, historically the roulette of family law (blindfolds, darts and Ouija boards being optional).”

10. “While Larry’s access-conduct has largely reflected nothing more than inept parenting, Catherine’s parental-alienation behaviour has been evil. Is there a remedy? Dollars cannot replace the father-daughter relationship that Catherine has destroyed. However, in the circumstances of this case, justice has only a Hobson’s choice. Catherine’s alienation of Taylor and Larry must be condemned and, an effective method of expressing that condemnation, is by way of a reduction in spousal support.”

11. “It is likely that, in the period 2004-2006, Larry was having one or more extramarital affairs. Interestingly, Larry’s father was married five times, in addition to going through several relationships. Perhaps there is an infidelity gene. “

12. “When the operator of a motor vehicle yells “jackass” at a pedestrian, the jackassedness of the former has been proved, but, at that point, it is only an allegation as against the latter.”

13. “The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines “dickhead” as “a stupid person.” That would not have been my first guess.”

14. “I do not know why courts find it necessary to alter the meaning of words. One would think that if the legislators had intended “shocking” they would have used “shocking.”

15. “On another occasion in July of 2009, Larry said to Taylor: “You put shit in this hand and shit in this hand, smack it together, what do you get? Taylor.” And the endnote “I gather that this is Larry’s version of the Big Bang Theory.”

The Justice Quinn’s full decision is available at http://bit.ly/fRlRaD

Further family law court decisions can also be found on our website at http://bit.ly/eJmpsx