In 2009, two adult children filed a lawsuit to sue their mother, Kimberly Garrity, for more than $50,000 in "emotional distress" damages. At the time, twentysomething Steven II and eighteensomething Kathryn alleged their mother failed to do her motherly duties thereby accusing Kimberly Garrity of bad mothering.
The disclosed offenses, according to The Chicago Tribune, included Garrity telling then seven-year-old Steven to wear a seatbelt or she would call the police; making a midnight phone call to then teen Kathryn to come home from celebrating homecoming; sending an American Greetings card featuring tomatoes on the cover (one with plastic googly eyes) and "Son I got you this Birthday card because it's just like you… different from all the rest!" printed inside and signed Love & Hugs, Mom xoxoxo without any money; failing to take the daughter to a car show; and, failing to send her son care packages while he was away at college.
Further offenses, according to the Toronto Sun, included Garrity changing her last name after the divorce; living with another man after the divorce; threatening to call police after her son took back a homemade jewelry box he made for her; alleging her son stole the diamond necklace in said homemade jewelry box; and, "smacking" her son on the head, "giving him recurring headaches."
Interestingly enough, written documents filed by the plaintiffs' main attorney—the siblings had three lawyers—noted:
The children do not view their (lawsuit) as an attack on mothering, but rather on accountability. Everyone makes mistakes, but… there must be accountability for actions. Parenting is no different.
So, just who is this attorney with the confounded notion that this lawsuit was not an attack on one woman's mothering, but rather what this one woman did and did not do as a mother? The attorney is Steven A. Miner, the children's father and Garrity's ex-husband.
Kimberly Garrity and Steven A. Miner were married for 10 years and raised their children together during that time. They lived in a very nice house in a very nice suburb 40 miles outside of Chicago (read as: multimillion dollar real estate property in Barrington Hills, an equestrian community).
Although the Chicago Tribune notes that Kimberly Garrity filed for the divorce in 1995, whether or not Garrity had partial custody of her children is unclear; however, the Toronto Sun notes the children lived with their father. What is clear is that Steven II was 7 and his sister 4 when their parents divorced. What is also clear is that the father harbored spite for 14 years, negatively influencing his children to also spite their mother and file a lawsuit against her because she, according to her children, was not an accountable parent. Yet, Kimberly Garrity did what any accountable mother would do in such an unspeakably grim situation to appease her children. She attended court. She also acknowledged accountability of the two-years worth of legal fees she's accrued (amount undisclosed). The children, on the other hand, did not have to pay for their attorney father's representation (and I suppose the father's two lawyer buddies owed him one).
So, who's guilty of this flagrant longstanding harassment against Kimberly Garrity, mother and ex-wife? Obviously, the douchebag lawyer father himself, Steven A. Miner, who compared his children suing their mother for "bad mothering" to patients suing their doctor for bad doctoring... Uh, not quite Attorney Miner. Would I like a business card? No, I don't do business with douchebags.
One thing a douchebag father is not, is genuine. Said Miner:
[I] only filed the lawsuit after much legal research and had tried to dissuade [my] children from bringing the case.
I don't buy it. Nor do I buy that the adult children's actions are completely douchebag-free either. By how much, I don't know, which is probably why Judge Kathy Flanagan had this to say when the case was dismissed the first time (date unnoted):
It amounted to nothing more than children suing their mother for bad mothering.
The Miner Siblings and their attorney father apparently appealed the case to the First District Appellate Court of Illinois, who dismissed it last week, noting:
[None] of the mother's conduct was extreme or outrageous. To rule in favor of her children could potentially open the floodgates to subject family child rearing to… excessive judicial scrutiny and interference.
So does this mean the court considered ruling in favor of the children and did not because such a decision would change the face of family law as we know it? Or, did the First District Appellate Court of Illinois simply want to state, in their own legalese, that the case was the douchiest they've ever seen in their judicial careers? I'm inclined to say the latter, since the First District Appellate Court Justice ruled Garrity did not intentional inflict emotional distress on her children, according to the Daily Herald.
But, what does Kimberly Garrity, the woman who endured the bad mothering label for two years in court (and endure its emotional stress for the rest of her life) say about all of this? Well, what any mother accountable for her children would say:
Garrity's attorney writes that she does still love her children but found that they wanted the benefits afforded by a family relationship, but none of the restraints.
Court is adjourned! Though I rule for a case against Bad Fathering.