The Volokh Conspiracy

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Call Your Mother! The Judge Says You Have To

A thousand jokes come to life.


Jean Rosenbaum managed to get an "order requiring the plaintiff Richard Rosenbaum, her son, to telephone her no less than once every three months and to meet her in person at least once each year." To be fair, we should note that her son and daughter-in-law sought an injunction "to restrain [the mother] from contacting the plaintiffs by telephone at their home or at their places of employment, and from contacting any personnel at their places of employment." The judge issued such an order, but provided:

Plaintiff Richard Rosenbaum shall telephone defendant no less than once every three months, which telephone conversation by Richard shall extend for no less than one minute.

At least once each year, starting on or about September 26, 1986, Richard Rosenbaum and defendant shall meet in person at a neutral place to be agreed upon, with arrangements to be made through Edward A. Berman or one of defendant's other children.

The order must be vacated, the trial court later held, and the court of appeals agreed:

In the instant case, plaintiff son has chosen not to keep in touch with his mother. This is a sad and unfortunate situation; however, it takes more than a mere secular tribunal to command filial devotion.

The case is Rosenbaum v. Rosenbaum (Ill. App. Ct. 1989); old news, I realize, but I just came across it.