The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Lawsuit Alleging "Bad Mothering" Dismissed

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 29, 2011 2:35PM

Here's a story that some may find highlights the results of sparing the rod. A lawsuit filed by two adult children against their mother seeking "bad mothering" damages was dismissed again by an appellate court.

The lawsuit filed against Kimberly Garrity two years ago by her children, Steven Miner II and Kathryn Miner, who were 21 and 18 at the time. The Miners alleged their mother engaged in "a course of conduct which has caused both the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress."

Among the ogreish actions alleged by the Miner children, Garrity:

  • Failed to take Kathryn to a car show.
  • "Haggl(ed)" over the amount to spend on party dresses.
  • Called her daughter at midnight telling her to come home from celebrating homecoming.
  • Gave Steven II a birthday card with no cash or check in it.
  • Failing to send her son care packages while in college.
  • Changed her surname when she remarried.

Most of us might say that's just part of the unwritten contract of being a parent. The Miner children thought otherwise and filed the lawsuit, asking for $50,000 in damages for emotional distress. Adding salt to the wound, one of the Miners' three attorneys was their father, Steven A. Miner. Miner and Garrity divorced in 1995 when the children were 7 and 5, respectively. Miner said he only brought the lawsuit after much legal research and after attempts to talk his children out of it were unsuccessful.

The First District Appellate Court upheld an earlier dismissal of the lawsuit by Cook County Judge Kathy Flanagan, ruling that, while Garrity's actions were "unpleasant and perhaps insensitive," they don't meet the legal definitions for emotional distress. Miner wrote his children's case is no different from suing a doctor for malpractice.

The children "do not view their (lawsuit) as an attack on mothering, but rather on accountability," he wrote. "Everyone makes mistakes, but … there must be accountability for actions. Parenting is no different."

Is it too late to reach for a belt?