Douchebag Decree: Bad Mothering Lawsuit

"ye olde douchebag decree" in blue letters with a light blue hand-drawn douchebag in the background, and "BITCH HEREBY DECLARES THE FOLLOWING PERSON A TOTAL DOUCHEBAG" in small letters in red underneath.

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.

Previously: Douchebag Decree: Southwest Airlines, Douchebag Decree: Jours Après Lunes, Lingerie for Girls

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Comments

12 comments have been made. Post a comment.

"and I suppose the father’s

"and I suppose the father’s two lawyer buddies owned him one"

... owned him one?

Oops!

Typo-alert! *owed* him a favor. Thanks for pointing this out (and for reading).

Conflict of interest

How the heck did the father even get past the clear conflict of interest issues in representing his children in this case?

wowza

Nothing she did even sounds like bad mothering. It sounds like perfectly reasonable, even good mothering. Baffled. Also, thinking these kids are spoiled little shits. Oh, your birthday card didn't have any money in it? Boo hoo.

I Didn't Get a Pony

If lack of college care packages and absence of $ in b-day cards were grounds for child abuse, I and most everyone I know who wasn't raised with this same sense of entitlement could sue our parents, their parents, and subsequent ancestors for not putting the luxuries of kids at the forefront of their endeavors. I hope these kids are embarrassed. Perhaps they could try writing memoirs that would be read as parodies and accidentally make enough money to cover their supposed loses.

Wow. Just WOW. The nerve. My

Wow. Just WOW. The nerve. My mother was terrible for years (horrible depression among other things) 'accountability' how about TALKING? Hmm? Get over it. .. 'I didn't get money booohoo' . . Give me a break. .
Though I do feel there's more to be said here, where's the rest of the story? But seriously. OMG.

For sure!

... there's always more to be said. According to the Chicago-based articles, the mother filed for divorce; so, that leaves me wondering why? Regardless of the reason(s), it doesn't justify this bad mothering lawsuit. I'm also left wondering if the media picked up on the case when it was first brought to court two years ago? Does anyone remember a story similar to this back then? And, if there was ever a bad fathering case, would it have piqued media interest? If anyone should be writing a memoir, it should be Garrity. Thanks all for reading + commenting!

why did she file for divorce?

Isn't it self evident why she filed for divorce? Her ex husband is a horrible, horrible person.

It's examples of entire

It's examples of entire groups of rotten siblings like these two that make me question the logic of anyone who assumes I must have been spoiled rotten or raised with a sense of entitlement for simply being an only child.

bad mother goes to jail

This lawsuit is terrible (thankfully dismissed!), but I almost feel this conviction is worse:

Mother convicted of Assault (!) for failing to give her son chemo
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42553209/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/t/jury...

Honestly, it's not as if chemo is a straight-up medicine without significant risk. In reality, it is POISON (seriously, it works by [hopefully] killing off the cancer cells at a rate faster than the healthy cells, but it is damaging the entire body, that's why people, especially children, on chemo get sick). In any case, I don't see how a debatably "negligent" mother could be convicted of "Assault & Battery" (in addition to Child Endangerment) for failing to administer medical poison.

This is really about second-guessing a (single) mother's judgement of her own child's state of health.

Gawd!

The lawsuit isn't about the death of a terminally-ll boy because his mother didn't follow doctors' orders. It is the death of a terminally-ill boy because of the cure-all / fix-all endemic prevalent in this country. The jury's ethno-sense of synthetic medicine + the White Coat dictated the outcome of this case (and that's sickening, not to mention whether the same verdict would have resulted had the child not been autistic). Thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting.

In my opinion, the issue here

In my opinion, the issue here is not about who is right in the lawsuit, and whether she was a good or bad mother, blah blah blah... Even if she was a bad mother, the worst, what has a lawsuit to do with it? You can't fix that with money.

Turning everything, even relationships, relational conflicts and resolutions, into commodities - that is the problem.