Lawsuit Claims Contract Written in Blood Should Be Extra-Enforceable

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The AP reported this week on a new contract suit filed in Orange County Superior Court in California.  The lawsuit involves an alleged agreement to settle a dispute over $170,000 that Jinsoo Kim had invested in a Korean corporation owned by the defendant, Stephen Son.  Son’s attorney admits that he signed a repayment promise in 2004 when Son and Kim were discussing their dispute in a bar (always the best place to transact legal business).  But Son disputes (among other things) the validity of the contract.

Kim’s attorney, on the other hand, argues not only that the contract is valid but that it should be especially valid because it was written in blood.  "It just seems ironic," he said, "that when they go beyond the usual ink and laser printer [they would then] turn around and say, ‘I didn’t really mean it.’"  I think that’s a great idea, because then we could have all kinds of contracts differing in strength because of what they were written with or on, disputes that would have to be resolved in lengthy court battles for hundreds of dollars an hour.  "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I ask you, what kind of man makes a promise on such flimsy paper?  The law demands no less than 20-pound bond, preferably with those fancy edges and some kind of stamp or something."

But boring legal experts said that the contract did not have any "extra legal power" just because it was written in blood.  "You can write it in stone; you can make it orally," said Joe Perillo, author of the famous contract textbooks, probably printed with that annoying ink that comes off on your hands, but it doesn’t matter how it’s written.  But Prof. Perillo said despite 40 years of reading contracts cases, he had "never seen one" involving a contract written in blood.  So.  There’s still room for argument.

Link: AP via