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Artist Takes Brother-In-Law To Small Claims Court After His Kids Ruin His Expensive Markers

A young child with his face covered in colorful paints yells into the camera
Catherine Delahaye/Getty Images

Dealing with family and kids can be an arduous situation.

When family gatherings are held, kids are usually running everywhere.

When you lose track of those kids, drama can ensue.

Case in point…

Redditor BroccoliOk923 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for taking my BIL to small claims court over art supplies?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“A bit of context: I (29 M[ale]) like to draw and try other mediums as well.”

“As such, I’ve accumulated a lot of art supplies over the past few years.”

“My wife (Sally 27 F[emale]) also dabbles a bit, and we have converted one of the rooms in our home to an art studio of sorts.”

“There’s easily a few thousand dollars worth of art supplies in that room, and we tend to keep it locked for that reason.”

“Most important to me are my pencils and markers, which were not cheap (Chartpak for those who care).”

The OP got into the matter (and markers) in hand.

“Onto the story…”

“Sally and I had her family over for her aunt’s birthday a few weeks back, and my B[other] I[n] L[aw] and S[sister] I[n] L[aw] brought their kids with them (7 F and 6 M).”

“We had forgotten to lock the door to the room that day.”

“About an hour into the party, I noticed that both kids were nowhere to be seen, so I asked my SIL if she knew where they were.”

“She said that they were drawing in the other room.”

“I asked if my wife was with them, and she said she (SIL, to be clear not Sally) just told them which room it was in.”

“I immediately rushed over to the art room and found it was a total mess.”

“Most devastatingly was the fact that all my markers were ruined because those kids were using way too much force casing the tips to fray.”

“I yelled at them to get out, and they started crying.”

“My BIL ran over and started yelling at me, saying they’re just kids and it’s just markers.”

“I told him that the markers alone were $17 a piece, and he said I was stupid for paying that much.”

“Sally tried to diffuse the situation, but my BIL started yelling at her too, saying we can’t have this many art supplies and not expect kids wanting to use it.”

“I told him he’s paying to replace the markers and other supplies they ruined and he told me to go f**k myself and left.”

“Everyone left shortly after that.”

“I totaled up the damages, and I needed to replace about $375 and found that the kids drew on a piece I had spent the past week working on as well as ruining a finished piece Sally did.”

“I sent him a bill, and he blocked me.”

“So I talked with my friend who was a lawyer and had him draft a claim for small claims court and a letter to send my BIL (I paid him for this, of course).”

“My wife is in agreement about this.”

“But her family has been mobbing us telling us we’re being ridiculous over some markers.”

“Only my F[ather] I[n] L[aw] (who also has taken up painting recently) and my other SIL says that BIL has to pay.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA. Parents need to watch their own kids.”

“How entitled is it to just send them to a room in someone else’s house and tell them to go wild with whatever is there without even asking?”

“How about the parents watch the children and make sure they stay with them?”

“Though in this case that wouldn’t have helped because they felt their kids were entitled to your stuff.”

“The way they wrecked two pieces of actual art is the worst part of all.” ~ MistressLiliana

“I know I’m welcome into my boyfriend’s parent’s house, but if I need to get something or go somewhere, I ask for permission.”

“And I’m in my 30s!”

“If there was no history of the kids getting into things like this, why would OP and his wife lock the door?”

“I’m sure they will now, but if they didn’t use to because, ummm, MANNERS, why would they have locked it?”

“I don’t get the other verdicts. OP is NTA.”

“The parents are for not watching their kids or asking, ‘Hey, is okay if the kids go into your art room? ‘No.’ ‘Ok.'” ~ Green-Witch1812

“NTA. I just wanted to add that OP should make sure that they include the cost of supplies and labor for the damaged or destroyed art in their total.” ~ Warvanov

“There are a lot of people out there that not only don’t watch their kids when they’re over at someone else’s house but would probably get upset if you pointed out that they broke one of your things.”

“I have a good friend whose 5-year-old daughter came over and started hopping up and down on my cat’s favorite scratch ramp breaking it.”

“I didn’t even tell my friend because it’s not a super expensive item, and I felt like if I did, it would just cause an argument.”

“That doesn’t make it right.”

“Also, your BIL saying that you’re stupid to pay that much for markers is obviously not in the know.”

“Quality art supplies are expensive, and it’s not your fault that they don’t know that.”

“NTA and I’m very sorry this happened.”  ~ Plum_Blossims

“I agree, NTA because the OP already asked to cover the cost for the damage WITHOUT involving court at first.”

“But when he does now, the BIL unblock him lol.”

“Like, he should have just paid beforehand, cheap markers or not, he should have asked OP before the kids waltz into some room.” ~ Vey-kun

“NTA – Considering BIL didn’t offer an apology or pay anything for the damages and just further insulting you, I don’t see a problem going after him.”

“Parents are responsible for their kid’s actions, in my opinion.”

“You know they won’t pay anything otherwise.”

“I am not sure if the never-ending drama this will cause for the rest of your lives is worth it though.”  ~ MinerReddit

“I’ll go with NTA, based on your S[ister] I[n] L[aw]’s a comment ‘She said that they were drawing in the other room. I asked if my wife was with them, and she said she just told them which room it was in. “

“SIL ought to have known that you don’t give your kids permission to do something like that without asking.”

“The small claims thing is likely to burn all bridges with that part of the family, though.”  ~ TyrannasaurusRecked

“Clearly NTA. I understand yelling at the kids since you were startled yourself when you saw your art supplies being destroyed, and it is a person’s first reaction.”

“It’s also the fastest way to make a kid stop what they are doing.”

“As for the claims, go for it.”

“Art supplies are expensive, and your BIL is responsible for his kid’s actions.”

“If he doesn’t want to compensate you voluntarily, use dispute resolution means.”  ~ Ok-Opinion3023

“NTA. You don’t open closed doors in other people’s houses without permission.”

“Since you forgot to lock it, it’s safe to assume that the door was at least closed.”

“The SIL should’ve supervised her children at the very least to make sure they didn’t make a huge mess with the art supplies.”

“Unless they’ve been allowed in the room before unsupervised, there’s no reason that they would’ve been allowed in there by themselves right now.”

“They should’ve paid you back without oh having to take them to small claims because they were the ones who messed up by not watching their small children.” ~ Scarlett1407

OP came back with an Update…

“First off, holy sh*t, I did not expect this to blow up.”

“I posted, figured I get a handful of responses, and turned off Reddit.”

“I am extremely grateful that so many took the time to read and respond to this post, I’m going to read as many comments as I can, but I can’t read them all.”

“Either way, thank you all.”

“Anyways, last night my FIL called my wife and told us to come over.”

“When we arrived my BIL and SIL were already there.”

“FIL sat us down and told us we’re figuring this out now, and anyone who leaves gets written out of his will.”

“BIL asked if he seriously would disinherit him over markers?”

“And FIL asked him, ‘Would you seriously get disinherited than talk this out like adults?'”

“He called all of us childish but figured the threat of court would make BIL admit he was at fault.”

“He also was mad at me for reacting so nuclear and ruining aunt’s birthday.”

“After an hour and a half of talking, BIL said he was sorry and would replace the supplies his kids ruined.”

“I apologized for making a scene and Sally and I are taking Aunt out for dinner tonight with FIL as an apology.”

“I don’t really care about the judgment here since I realize whether or not I was right for taking BIL to court because my a**hood from ruining the party far outweighs that.”

“Hopefully things mend well with my wife’s family.”

Well, OP, Reddit is with you.

But it sounds like you all found a way to move on.

Hopefully, this doesn’t leave a lasting issue for the family.