Mum receives $178,000 bill after five-year-old son's statue mishap

Surveillance footage shows the boy causing the statue to fall.
Surveillance footage shows the boy causing the statue to fall. Photo: City of Overland Park

Taking small kids to weddings has its downsides. Not being able to fully relax and always having to be vigilant about where they are what they're doing when all you want to do is have a chat, is not altogether enjoyable.

Spare a thought then for mum Shannon Goodman, who has been hit with a $178000 (US$132000) bill after her 5-year-old son knocked over a glass statue at a wedding reception centre in Kansas on May 19.

Security video from the Tomahawk Ridge Community Centre in Overland Park shows two young boys running around the centre as the adults sat on lounges nearby chatting.

Ms Goodman's son Troy is shown grabbing the statue, causing it to topple onto the floor.

The boy fortunately only incurred minor abrasions, but the repercussions have shocked the mum, who has received a bill from the venue's insurance company for what the artist claims is the full value of the glass artwork.

Bill Lyons says the artwork took two years to complete and that the fall shattered the back of the head, and damaged the arms beyond repair.

"I want to be reimbursed for the amount of time that I spent on it and for what I think it is worth," he told The Kansas City Star.

Ms Goodman argued that the heavy glass artwork should have been adequately anchored in the busy foyer that had been full of families with their children that afternoon for the wedding. She added that no-one had enquired about the wellbeing of her son.

The jury is also out on exactly what Troy was trying to do. Admitting she didn't see the accident, Ms Goodman suggested, "He probably hugged it. Maybe my son hugged a torso because he's a loving, sweet nice boy who just graduated from preschool."

The police had a different take on it stating in a report, "It appears (the child) tried to climb on the statue, causing the statue to become unstable and fall forward."

She denies her child was unsupervised, challenging the assertion in the letter she received from the insurance company:

"This loss occurred when your son was in a closed area of the property and toppled a glass sculpture. Under common law in Kansas, you are responsible for the supervision of a minor child and your failure to monitor them during this loss could be considered negligent," the letter said, then requesting her insurance details. "The cost of the sculpture damaged is estimated at $132,000."

A spokesman for the centre told The Star, "The city has a responsibility to file a claim with our insurance company, and we do that any time city property is damaged," Reilly said Thursday. "It will be up to the insurance companies to get this worked out."