Lawsuit alleging ‘bad parenting’ dismissed by Illinois appellate court

When you think of so-called bad parenting, you more than likely envision child custody cases involving shocking (and perhaps sad) allegations of extreme or outrageous conduct by a parent. In fact, the last thing you probably envision is a lawsuit brought by children against their mother over such perceived outrages as ordering them to wear seat belts or declining to buy toys.

Interestingly, this was the case in Illinois, where two siblings, Steven M., now 23, and Kathryn M., now 20, filed a lawsuit alleging emotional distress caused by bad parenting and seeking over $50,000 from their mother, Kimberly G., back in 2009.

According to the complaint, the two siblings – who grew up in a $1.5 million home in a semi-rural suburb of Chicago – were subjected to the following behavior by Kimberly G.:

  • Kimberly G. failed to take Kathryn M. to a car show
  • Kimberly G. argued with Kathryn M. over the price of a party dress
  • Kimberly G. gave Steven M. an “inappropriate card” for his birthday with no cash or check inside (The card contained a message that said, “Son, I got you this birthday card because it’s just like you, different from all the rest.” Inside Kimberly G. wrote, “Have a great day! Love & Hugs, Mom xoxoxo.”)

In recent developments, this bad mothering case was dismissed by an Illinois appellate court, which ruled that none of Kimberly G.’s parental conduct rose to the level of extreme or outrageous.

In fact, the appellate court also indicated that the case had to be dismissed on public policy grounds, as ruling in favor of the Kathryn M. and Steven M., “could potentially open the floodgates to subject family child rearing to … excessive judicial scrutiny and interference.”

It is worth noting that one of the three attorneys who represented the two children in their lawsuit was their father, Steven M., Kimberly G.’s ex-husband. However, Steven M. indicated in court records that he first attempted to dissuade his children from pursuing legal action.

Kimberly G. has declined to comment on the case, but her attorney indicated that she still loves her children despite the fact that they wanted “the benefits afforded by a family relationship, but none of the restraints.”

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child custody or visitation, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of the parties involved.

Related Resources:

International Business Times “Judge dismisses ‘bad mom’ lawsuit in Illinois” Aug. 30, 2011