Tort Law

No College Care Packages? No Birthday Cash? Kids Sue Mom--Unsuccessfully--with Lawyer Dad's Help

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An Illinois appeals court has dismissed a bad mothering suit filed by two young adults with the help of their lawyer father.

The First District Appellate Court of Illinois found that Kimberly Garrity’s conduct wasn’t extreme or outrageous, and didn’t justify a suit seeking damages for emotional distress, report the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald.

The children who sued are 23-year-old Steven Miner and 20-year-old Kathryn Miner of the wealthy Chicago suburb of Barrington Hills. According to the stories, they had alleged that their mother:

• Told Steven when he was 7 that she would call police if he didn’t buckle his seat belt.

• Failed to send college care packages and birthday cards for many years, and when she sent cards, failed to include cash.

• Changed her last name, causing distress at school events.

• Sent Steven a birthday card showing a bunch of tomatoes, one with googly eyes, with the caption: “Son I got you this birthday card because it’s just like you … different from all the rest!”

• Haggled over the amount spent on Kathryn Miner’s party dresses.

• Called Kathryn Miner at midnight while she was at homecoming and told her to come home.

• Played favorites with the kids.

A ruling in favor of the children, the appeals court said, “could potentially open the floodgates to subject family child rearing to … excessive judicial scrutiny and interference.”

The children’s father, Steven Miner, said in court papers that he had tried to persuade his kids not to file the case, but agreed to help after much legal research, the Tribune says. The Miners had divorced in 1995 after 10 years of marriage.

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