Long-time readers of this blog may remember my July 2007 or August 2008 post about this case. It seems that Mr. Kim invested $140,000 in companies run by Mr. Son. When the companies went belly-up, Messrs. Kim and Son met over drinks to discuss the matter. Mr. Son, probably inebriated and apparently feeling bad about Mr. Kim’s loss, pricked his finger with a safety pin and wrote—in blood (and in Korean)—“Sir, forgive me. Because of my deeds, you have suffered financially. I will repay you to the best of my ability.”
Some time later, Mr. Kim sued to enforce the blood-written promise. A California trial court held the promise unenforceable because it was not supported by consideration. On appeal, Mr. Kim filed a brief arguing that “Blood may be thicker than water, but here it’s far weightier than a peppercorn.” But the appellate court disagreed and affirmed the trial court.
So the lesson remains the same as before: When writing a contract, forget the bloody dramatics. Write it on a computer and sign it with an ink pen.