Illustration: Jovanna Tosello

The lawsuit arrived in the mail like any other bill. My mother opened the envelope at the kitchen table. It was a weekday. Her husband was at the office. Her sons were at school. It took a couple of paragraphs for reality to set in. She was being sued for $20,000,000 by a man she’d never met. The offense? My mother had invited a woman to appear with her on the Phil Donahue Show. In front of millions of Americans the woman had recounted a harrowing story of…