A user asked, Am I wrong for taking my brother-in-law (BIL) to small claims court over art supplies?


pose for art class for desperate money
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The Original Poster (OP) (29M) likes to draw and try other mediums as such, OP has accumulated a lot of art supplies over the past few years.

They Converted A Room Into Art Studio

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OP’s wife (Sally 27F) also dabbles a bit, and they have converted one of the rooms in their home into an art studio of sorts. There’s easily a few thousand dollars worth of art supplies in that room, and they tend to keep it locked for that reason.

Most important to OP are the pencils and markers which were not cheap (Chartpak for those who care).

What Happened Next

kids party
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Sally and OP had her family over for her aunt’s birthday a few weeks back, and OP’s BIL and SIL brought their kids with them (7F and 6M). They had forgotten to lock the door to the room that day.

The Kids Were In The Room

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

She said that they were drawing in the other room. OP asked if OP’s wife was with them, and she said she just told them which room it was in.

What Happened In The Room

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OP immediately rushed to the art room and found it was a total mess. Most devastatingly, all the markers were ruined because those kids were using too much force causing the tips to fray.

How Did Everyone React

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OP says, “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 to want to use them. I told him he was paying to replace the markers and other supplies they ruined, and he told me to go f myself and left. Everyone left shortly after that.”

What Did OP Do

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

OP sent him a bill, and he blocked him. So OP talked with his friend, who was a lawyer, and had him draft a claim for small claims court and a letter to send to his BIL (OP paid him for this ofc).

OP says, “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 FIL (who also has taken up painting recently) and my other SIL say BIL has to pay. Am I wrong?”

You Are Not A Jerk

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“Not a jerk.

Parents need to watch their kids. How entitled is it to send them to a room in someone else’s house and tell them to go wild with whatever is there without even asking?

I don’t saying you should have locked the door. How about the parents watch the children and ensure they stay with them? That wouldn’t have helped in this case because they felt their kids were entitled to your stuff. How they wrecked two pieces of actual art is the worst part.”

They Should Ask

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“I am very into Looney Tunes, Toy Story, and The Muppets. I’m also very into sports. I have a TON of things that could be argued is for children. Every one of my friends with children has been quite clear with their kids that my toys are mine, even though I really don’t mind them playing with my stuff (I’m not a collector; I just like cartoons and balls.)

I will never understand the philosophy of “Kids like that stuff, therefore, it’s okay for my kids to use.” I GIVE PERMISSION to my friends and their kids, and they STILL ask before grabbing any of my toys.”


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“Seriously, for me, this is one of the most stressful parts of visiting other people’s homes with my daughter. People without children put things in all kinds of crazy easy-to-reach places (clearly not crazy when you don’t have grabby hands about).

I spent the entire visit watching my daughter like a hawk because A) I don’t want her to get hurt on people’s floor knives and B) I don’t want her to damage their stuff!

The thought of letting her rummage through a room in someone’s house is like a nightmare.”

Parents Are Responsible For Their Kids

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“Not a jerk – 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, IMO. You know they won’t pay anything otherwise. I am unsure if the never-ending drama this will cause for the rest of your lives is worth it, though.”

He Is A Jerk

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“Once BIL tried to shame OP for what he spent on markers, that’s it for me. You don’t get to tell other people what they can spend their earned money on. F right off with that.”

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