Court Cases & Orders

Children gone wild? Lawsuit against mom for bad parenting dismissed

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Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

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 Kathryn 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 Kathryn 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 of the attorneys for the plaintiffs.

The Appellate Court’s decision can be found at

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

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.