By | September 7, 2011 34 Comments

‘Bad mothering’ lawsuit dismissed

An Illinois appeals court recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by the two adult children of Steven A. Milner and Kimberly Garrity, who divorced in 1995. Both children, Steven II and Kathryn, lived with their father, an attorney, in a $1.5 million house. They alleged that their mother caused emotional distress by sending dumb birthday cards or failing to send care packages when they were in college.

In reporting the story the Chicago Tribune portrayed Steven II and Kathryn—represented by their father and two other attorneys—as spoiled brats. Read:

‘Bad mothering’ lawsuit dismissed on

I was all set to think that the case was a frivolous lawsuit driven by Steven Miner, the father, to harass the mother. But then I looked at the actual court decision. If the allegations in their claim are true, the picture is far muddier. The mother, Kimberly Garrity, may be disordered. Maybe both parents are disordered. Read:

Steven A. Miner II and Kathryn R. Miner v. Kimberly A. Garrity, on State.Il.Us

The moral of the story: It’s very difficult to know the truth about family life based on media accounts, or even court documents.

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It seems that the Judge should have ordered counseling for these two children as they became pawns in the game their mother played against their father. I know this game too well… my ex DIL is exactly the same way. ‘I am going to control this situation no matter what happens to my children. It is about ME.’ It is sad for the children because they want her money as if that will ever make it right. What they need is a counselor to help them understand that they do not have to live as she did.

Ox Drover

Interesting article, Donna, and I’m like you, I think it is very difficult to know the “rest of the story” from the news article and even from the court documents.

While the suit shows to me a pattern of petty crap between the mother and the children, I wonder what the father was doing during this time?

Apparently the daughter DID have counseling as a child (the court documents mentioned the mother insisted on interviewing the potential new counselors when the daughter wanted to change and it ended up the daughter had to stay with the first one).

While I can see that the now-adult children might have reason to not want to have anything to do with their mother after a very rocky youth with them….I don’t really see the benefit in suing her.

LF recommends, and I agree, that No Contact with a person who has been abusive gives us the emotional room to heal by getting this person out of our lives.

The mother trying to separate the two children’s custody in the divorce because the boy had been abused by an adult female (HER! for goodness sakes!) and therefore MIGHT abuse his sister….that sounds to me very much like someone high in psychopathic traits. NOT GETTING IT!

Still, how the father reacted is more of a mystery. Why did he cooperate with the law suit. He said he tried to talk them out of it, but he was the attorney and could have said NO! It is very unlikely they would have found another attorney to take on the case either pro bono, or on contingency and I doubt they had the funds to hire an attorney outright. So what was HIS motive? Revenge?

Still, an interesting case.

My goodness. Whatever the case is with this family, the lawsuit sounds ridiculous to me. Yes, the family sounds sketchy and I think there is a bit more going on than meets the eye, but these kids sound like spoiled brats to me.

Are they aware of what some kids have to deal with? Are they?

There are priests raping children, alcoholics beating kids to death, mothers who bring home “Johns” that rape the kids, my goodness the list goes on. I think that the very fact that these kids feel so self-righteous that they would waste so much time making a fuss about such trivial things signals that they haven’t paid attention to anything around them, all the people suffering around them. That is extremely narcissistic. If they just turned on the news and exercised a small shred of empathy, they might think, “Hmmm, I didn’t get care packages. My self-esteem is hurt and my mom is a bit neglectful, but some people have REAL PROBLEMS! Maybe I should stop thinking about MYSELF all the time!”

Perhaps I am being too harsh. This lawsuit just sounds like something a spoiled brat with an excessive sense of entitlement would bicker over. It’s a temper-tantrum on paper.

I also think I am a bit biased because my ex was a spoiled rich kid who threatened to move out of his parent’s house when they wouldn’t buy him the car he wanted when he was 16. This kind of behavior is just sick to me. I know parents aren’t perfect, but sometimes they really are doing the best they can and cannot always give the kid everything he/she wants.

Ox and Donna you sound a little more skeptical. I just had to say what this really made me think and I guess now you’ll tell me I am being too judgmental…..could be. I’m in my “anger” stage post-spath-bombs, so I might be a bit on the edgy side….

Did I miss something in those links?


I think you pretty much called it right.
The dad is a spath, the kids are entitled N’s and the mom is a spath. They are all drama addicts.

How do I know the dad is a spath? I mean, he is hardly mentioned and we don’t know of anything he is guilty of. That’s why. The spath is always hidden in the background pulling the strings, planting the seeds. When it all blows up around the N’s, the spath slithers away, unaffected. He got the drama he wanted to feed on.

Ox Drover

Well, the mother broke the kid’s arm when he was 6 or 7 years old and then “changed her story” several times….and tried to separate the two kids “because the boy had been abused by a woman, therefore he might abuse his sister” (the ABUSER WAS THE MOTHER).

Yea, the things they wrote in the law suit were trivial in appearance but a CONTINUAL list of irritating things over a years long pattern can be a MOUNTAIN of emotional and mental abuse.

The heaping up on top of each other of the thousands of small things that “drive us crazy” is one of the things the psychopathic group did to me….it kept me spinning in place, with my head in the spin cycle of the washer, never able to get my balance.

I don’t think, however, that the law suit was something I would have done, but at the same time, maybe these kids felt it was the only way to vindicate themselves from the “drip drip drip of the slow Chinese water torture” that was their mother. Maybe it was the father’s way of giving the finger to the X wife, I’m not really sure, but I don’t have much doubt that the mother at least was not “mother of the year” for sure.

She broke her own son’s arm? I must have actually read over that part without really seeing it. Okay, that is definitely messed up.

If there were real grievances, like that one, then I think the children would have been a lot better off leaving out every little complaint about cards not being sent and focused only on specific things that would be accepted as truly abusive or cruel. I still think these children are N’s, and I suspected that the parents might be spaths, yet I am very hesitant to call anyone an spath until I am sure, so I didn’t want to call that one. Skylar has no qualms pointing them all out in a room 🙂 I am the one standing behind her going, “Now now, let’s get a full report first….” HEY wait a minute! I know why I am sooo patient with spathy crap!!! Aha! It’s cause my FATHER thinks that I am an spath (doesn’t use that word) but he projected himself onto me for many years and I know how it feels to have someone keep calling you a sociopath (he used different words, but same point) all the time. I bet this is why I have a hard time pointing the finger. I feel bad for people who get labelled, and so the ones who really deserve it still end up with some mercy from me. I always think maybe we’ve all just misunderstood them, because I thought my father misunderstood me. NO I am NOT a sociopath, and I am SURE of it, but he had me worried that I was the same monster as he is for the longest time. He always told me that I had his genes, and that his genes were really strong/potent–strong enough to cancel out my mother’s genes–and therefore I was just like him. Yuck.

Okay, so this mom broke her own kid’s arm? Then she tried to separate them because he had been abused. She sounds like a nut case. But this law suit sounds like a nut case as well.

Ox, without question, the drip drip drip of the little things does have that effect when it’s coming from an spath/P. You’ve got a point with that one for sure.

Ox Drover


I absolutely agree with you about making sure that any information filed in a law suit is TRUE because in courts if it is WRITTEN it is “true”—based on someone’s “sworn testimony.”

There was a time when I fantasized about suing my P-sperm donor’s estate after he died….to vindicate myself from what he had said and done, but when the time came, when he was dead, the DESIRE WAS GONE. I no longer needed to do that to validate my own assessment that he was evil, that he was a psychopath….but I do know I think how the kids may have felt in WANTING to do this. Especially at such a young age. I would have thought that the father might have restrained them though, supposedly being an “older, wiser, and cooler head.” After all he was an attorney.

Also it was an expense to the mother (since she had to hire an attorney) and an embarrassment to her as well I am sure, even if she was a psychopath she wouldn’t want people to know it. So this might very well have been the father’s way of revenging himself against the mother using the kids as weapons. I would not encourage my kids to sue their dad even if I was a lawyer, and the dad could have said NO! and didn’t, so I guess he was at least part and parcel of it as well.


after reading the court document, doesn’t it strike you odd that there are so many “frivolous” accusations? stuff like: no money in the birthday card? Consider that the father is one of the attorneys involved. One would think that ANY attorney would advise the clients against making ridiculous allegations BECAUSE it would get the entire case thrown out as frivolous. But that is exactly what happened. So is the father, who lives in a mansion, an inept lawyer? I think not. I think things played out exactly as he planned. It was a test on the kids to see how far he could manipulate them as pawns to torture the ex-wife. It was also a drama for his enjoyment and an instrument to show her how he can still have power over her. He made sure it was frivolous so that it WOULD get thrown out and his own behavior would never be brought before the court.

This is exactly what happened to me when my brother accused me of domestic violence, scratched himself, and called the cops. He had me arrested but later dropped the charges. I spent two days in jail, but never got my day in court or even got to go before the judge to show him my bruises. Bruises take time to show up and the cops arrested me within minutes of the altercation. Because he had “marks” and I didn’t, they arrested me and not him. This is how spaths do things. If I’d gotten to go before a judge, his mask would have been revealed, so he dropped the charges.

Spaths are all the same.

Oh Skylar! Your brother!!!!!

I don’t know why, but the spaths in your life irritate the crap out of me. Every time you mention another thing one of them did, I want to throw something at the wall. I must be relating to you in a way I cannot fully access emotionally, so it comes out as anger.

Okay everyone I am out for the night.

Gonna watch True Blood! Yaya. Bye.

Take care

Ox Drover

Panther, yes, it does that to many of us, we can RELATE to what they did to each other. LOL There are several people here that I HATE their X’es and want to punch them!

It is EMPATHY when we feel what another is feeling….so your Aspergers can’t be to bad if you are feeling that “connection.” You have empathy!

“He made sure it was frivolous so that it WOULD get thrown out and his own behavior would never be brought before the court.”

Only that he was the acting lawyer who wasted the court’s time with he and his children’s frivolous accusations, thus making himself out to be a fool, a bad father who raised spoiled brats, and an inept lawyer. If he was a sociopath, psychopath, or just an everyday jerk with a plan, he sure didn’t think that one out too well.

kim frederick

This is an interesting thread. I don’t think the court documentssaid that the mother was guilty of breaking the kids arm, only that she changed her story about how it happened three times. Yes, that’s a red-flag, but, it could also be that she felt negligent for something, like she wasn’t watchinghim closely enough. Her husband, possibly an abusive critical domineering spath,might have been one to blame her for the injury. Lying is not good, but in a case like the one I’ve just laidout, it’s understandable. But this is just conjecture.
I agree with Sky about the frivolity of the theissues at hand. I think it’s a sneer in the x wifes face and designed to torment her. How much more fun to watch her agonize in court and spend thousands of dollars to defend herself, if it’s over a Birthday card….it makes it so obvious that he’s got the power and she’s the butt of a joke, so to speak.
What was goingon that a seven yearold boy would tell her he wantednothing more to do with her? And how did this transpire into his expectation of recieving care packages in college, and cash in Birthday cards?
About the car show: My first impression was that the issue was presented in a skewed fashion. The document implied that K had asked her mother to take her to a car show.She said No and took S11, instead. I thought a more likely scenario was that mom plannedto take S11, and K askedif she could go too. Now, I don’t findthat favoritizing, atall. I believe it’s good mothering to find something you can share with each of your kids, individually, so that that individual child feels special. The nextweek you might spend an evening takingthe otherone to see, “cats” or something.
I’m not sure what the so-called abuse was, that was done to S11 by his mom, they were very vaguein that regard.
I’m with you Panther, I think these kids are entitled brats!!
In this case maybe they got the double whammy…nature AND nurture!!!!


I agree 100% with Skylar. The father was the head spath putting together a new game or drama using the kids as tools to get back at the ex-wife.
She the ex may or may not be a spath. Usually the person who brings about the lawsuit has the money & power to do so and it sounds like the father pulling the strings from the background.


welcome to LF, sorry about the road that brought you here, it’s a harsh one.

you said, “…thus making himself out to be a fool, a bad father who raised spoiled brats, and an inept lawyer. If he was a sociopath, psychopath, or just an everyday jerk with a plan, he sure didn’t think that one out too well. ”

Ah, but wait. Remember the part where he said that he advised his kids against the lawsuit? So even here, he is covering his spathy butt. If anyone asks WHY would he go along with it, he would just say, “I told them not to…” (reminds me of Oxy’s son C)

This is how they plan their escape routes. My spath had a similar one. He would explain that it was all a joke. And who can get mad at a cute little prank? Only someone with no sense of humor. right?

He would plant evidence to PROVE that it was a joke. But the evidence could only be found where he knew where to look for it, if it was needed in the end. They suck.

Know one spath and you know them all.

BTW, all the behavior that is attributed to the mother, is heresay – we know nothing about that truth. But what little we can glean about the father, are facts: 1. He is on a team of lawyers that brought the lawsuit for his kids and 2. He says he told them not to do it.

When words contradict the behavior (by admission, not heresay)….spath.

Lastly, the fact that he can do these 2 things and the average human mind simply overlooks it, left confounded in a WTF? moment, rather than an AHA! moment….

’nuff said.

Yeah Skylar, you make a solid case. WTF = GTFO


By the way I was just watching Water for Elephants and the moment the star spath came on the show (before he even finished his first few lines) my spath meter went haywire over his character. I was in my room going SPATH SPATH SPATH!

By the end of the movie he tried to strangle his own wife with a tool that he had previously used to beat an elephant. So…I was right. I’m getting good at this.

Just reminded me of our little convo about blurting “spath!” out while watching films.

And YES I love how you point out that they cover their tracks. I HATE THAT because my ex would do this and I’d end up looking nuts every time I tried to do anything to protect myself or stand up for myself.


One thing that I think rings true for those of us who were heavily exposed to spaths happens. We can actually begin to think like spaths and we become experts at playing the game.

This gives us one step up on the competition or the system at large. We can begin to think outside the staus quo and use our brainpower to exceed the general populace.

I often wonder if we evolve into “quasi-spaths” or “spaths-by-proxy!


Spaths by proxy…I love it!

Ox Drover

I have called my egg donor a “psychopath by proxy” for years and that is what she does…she HELPS THE PSYCHOPATHS to abuse me while keeping her hands “clean.”

I can’t remember the exact quote but it is to the point about “all that it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

People who ENABLE the psychopaths by helping them or by doing nothing to defend those they see and know are being abused are in my estimation just as bad.

For example that “church” of people who sat by while that girl was forced to confess and apologize for being raped and nothing was done to the man…well, finally he went to prison, years, decades, later.

Joanie, no, we do not become psychopaths…even though we learn how they function. We have a conscience and it wouldn’t let us abuse others for our own entertainment.


Thank you. And the road may have been harsh, but it was full of wonderful sights and attractions. 🙂

— Ah, but wait. Remember the part where he said that he advised his kids against the lawsuit? So even here, he is covering his spathy butt. If anyone asks WHY would he go along with it, he would just say, “I told them not to— —

Yes. But it didn’t work in this case. Every amusingly sarcastic article I’ve read on the subject depicts him as an incompetent fool who conned his kids to get back at his wife. And I use “con” lightly. Steve Jr. and Kathryn were adults at the time of the lawsuit, perfectly capable of forming their very own thoughts. One would think, if he wanted his ex-wife to be known as a terrible mother, he would encourage his “clients” to provide evidence that actually supported the notion that she was emotionally abusive and omit those frivolous claims. Because, well, as we’ve seen in the news, all those frivolous claims made the mother seem like a saint who was being harassed by her ex-husband and his spoiled brats.

I had wrongly surmised that a wealthy lawyer wouldn’t be so… uh, stupid to clog the courtroom with such frivolous lawsuits. According to his Avvo profile, he has a stayed license suspension on his record from 1988. So, it seems that wealthy lawyer does not equal good lawyer. Which begs the question, from where did he get all that cash?

kim frederick

Yeah, but I maintain that even though the spathy lawyer and his two entitled brats lost their law suit, he still probably won, in the sence that he knows how much emotional turmoil he brought to his x wife. Especially because it was frivolous. How much money do you think she had to spend to defend herself? Over this petty crap? It was nothingmore than an attempt to degrade her, IMO, and show her who had the power.

She didn’t have to spend much. The case was thrown out before it even got to trial.

And, I don’t know… If I were in the wife’s position and my insignificant other just made a ####ed fool of himself, I’d be fairly pleased. Have a few laughs at his expense and all that. She deserves it.


Myers, thanks for filling us in on the details. I’m VERY happy to hear that he is being made a fool of. That’s very important because the spaths don’t like being laughed at.

Still, he put his ex thru an emotional turmoil, knowing how it hurts to have her kids hate her. And though the kids are adults, she now has no doubt that he still controls them.

I feel for her. I hope she writes them all off and goes NC forever. She needs to stop feeding the spaths.


@ Donna re: court papers have to be accurate. Not wanting a big mess when my husband (the spath) filed for divorce I left many things unchallenged, like perjury to get a restraining order against me while I was at a Al Anon meeting so he could have instant and absolute control of our home and anything in it while my son (and I) were out on the street without transportation or a cell phone to let each other know what happened and where we were. The spath’s lawyer wanted to up the spath by fabricating stories about me and presenting them in writing to the court as fact. My low cost attorney kept saying it’s just a divorce, that what happens in a divorce… I finally put documents on her desk and demanded a rebuttal on all the outlandish accusations that made me look to the public like I am the one that should be locked up. (mirroring on his part) Less than a week after he put us out of the house, he called me (restraining order in tact) to have a date with me to avoid running up lawyers fees. Being ever so nice and hurt by the split-up he was wanting to “be fair”. I am glad I insisted for my sake on a rebuttal for the record.

I recommend, that anything that can substantiate your case should be scanned to your email account if it is not already in a safe deposit box. I asked my neighbor to take pictures of my body, all black and blue from slamming me into walls and doors. Black and blue does not show up immediately so police could not make an arrest, however, my neighbor had it on her camera and was aware that something had occurred. Also, the year he divorced me, his salary went to 1/3 of what it was the previous year and shot up 300% for taxes at the end of the year. The judge did not care, because they believed what he reported and I had no pay stubs, just bank statements for deposits.

Right after the divorce he wanted to reconcile…. He already had a new married girl friend and he wanted to flatter me by saying, she is just a 20 year younger version of you.

Ox Drover

Dear Somebodysdream,

It sounds like he put you through the wringer. I’m sorry you had to be subjected to such drama and trauma.

Good advice on documentation. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!!!


I think that much of the drama was for his own entertainment. Once I “got it” I realized he was not human. I may have lost my job, money, friends and family, but I still have enough resilience to get up and move on. Wish I would have known about the blog here at LF years ago.
Thank you Ox you know what’s up and you are casting your bread on the water.


I don’t want to excuse possible bad behavior from the mother, but this sounds like classic parental alienation to me. The complaints about the mother are ridiculous. The fact that they would complain about an “inadequate” birthday card is absurd. This shows how much of a stretch it is for them to find things to gripe about. It shows how willing they are to pile on.

Yes, certainly, a giant pile of small incidents can add up to a large trauma. But really, these do not even rise to that level. It is possible that I am reading too much between the lines, but what I see is that every action the mother made was twisted in order to put the worst possible interpretation on it. IMO, this was not a case where the mother intended to hurt her kids or even annoy them. She did her best and every action was scrutinized and found wanting.

Consider how hard it is for an alienated parent to make any effort at all. EVERY attempt to stay in contact or to be nice to the kids is met with ridicule and scorn . No birthday card = My mom doesn’t love me. Funny birthday card = My mom sends me a stupid card. Serious card = My mom didn’t put any money in. Card with money = My mom didn’t put enough money in.

The scorn is at first suggested by the alienating parent (in this case the father). Then when it becomes a learned habit, it is encouraged. Ultimately, it becomes so ingrained that the father can step back and allow it to continue while pretending to be completely innocent. (“Really, I advised them not to file this suit.” Wink.)

Parents who are alienated like this should get a medal for even TRYING to maintain contact or behave like normal parents. The agony of the alienated parent is unimaginable to anyone who has not been there herself/himself.

An additional problem with cases like this is that the targeted parent is held to an IMPOSSIBLY high standard. The alienated parent is not permitted normal human emotions. Do you think there are many people who could be subjected to this treatment and not once raise a voice in anger? Do you think the constant rejection could cause the alienated parent to withdraw or give up trying or to miss a birthday or other occasion, knowing that no matter what she did it would be rejected and criticized?

Do you see any criticism whatsoever of the father here? Do you suppose that his behavior over all these years was totally perfect? Were all of his birthday gifts perfect? What were they? Did he even send a card? The best defense is a good offense. He never raised his voice or made any parenting mistake? It is easy for the alienating parent to sit and throw rocks from his glass house so long as no equal examination is ever made of his behavior.

This is a classic case of alienation. One of the classic signs is that the alienating parent is perfect and can do no wrong, while the targeted parent can do nothing right.


Regarding the kids ”“ IMO, they have been completely brainwashed by the father. They are just as much victims as the mother. It is like the “Stockholm Syndrome.”

If they have been immersed in the father’s constant criticism of the mother, they will have grown to believe it.

(I would not have thought that a formerly nice and decent kid could be made to behave that way if I had not witnessed it myself. I have seen this happen.)

It is a very hard thing for an adult to resist this sort of brainwashing from a hostile stranger (kidnapper). Think how much harder it must be for a child to resist this when it comes from a parent. The kids need professional help so they can see the truth, both good and bad, about both parents, and so their relationship with their mother can be healed.

It needs to be pointed out to these kids that their mother is allowed to have normal human faults and that normal faults don’t make her a bad parent or a bad person. (Yes, abuse makes someone a bad parent. But failure to send the perfect birthday card is not abuse.)

Again, I think the kids are victims here, too.


I think the husband is a psychopath and set the kids up to do this to their mother. A broken arm can happen in child’s play. My GD broke a bone jumping on the bed and falling off while playing with her dad. She fell, ACCIDENT! That does not make him a psychopath. As Skylar said, the psychopath always comes out looking like the good guy…especiall y a lawyer snake in a suit like the one who mentally abuses and hyptomizes my children.


Whaddya mean “Good lawyer”? :0 Many if not most lawyers are personality disordered, they thrive in the power and get their supply at the same time. It is the perfect profession for a psychopath. I was married to one, a psychopath, and only a few of his colleagues that I met were not just like him or worse.


Betsybugs, yep!

As a complete aside, I’ve typed this before, but “Betsybugs” is about the cutest online ID. I get this visual of ladybugs all dancing around, hand-in-hand.

Sorry……..stress often causes me to take my mind elsewhere…..



I was reading through this old thread and saw Panther’s name. Anyone heard from her lately? How about CQueen?

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