One of my favorite law blogs, Lowering the Bar, reports on this lawsuit from 2007. The story even made the Wall Street Journal.
"On Monday, a judge in Orange County Superior Court ruled against Kim Jin-Soo, refusing to enforce a contract to pay him over $140,000. Judge Corey Cramin ruled after a bench trial that there was no consideration for the contract, despite Kim's argument that the contract was binding because the defendant had written it in blood (or, as the Daily Journal put it, "in the muddy ocher of his own blood").
"Kim's lawsuit alleged that he had invested $140,000 in companies run by Mr. Son, but they all went out of business. He said the two men met over drinks in 2004 to discuss the matter. After apparently quite a few drinks, and some crying by one or both men (always a good time to consider drafting up a contract), Son allegedly agreed to repay the money Kim had lost, borrowed a safety pin from a waiter and wrote out a contract using his own blood. `Sir, forgive me," Son wrote, according to a translation from the original blood-smeared Korean. 'Because of my deeds, you have suffered financially. I will repay you to the best of my ability.'"
Now, in order to make their contract a binding one, parties must give consideration. Consideration can be just about anything, and can be minimal (law professors who teach Contracts often use a peppercorn as an example), but it has to be SOMETHING. The judge in this case said Mr. Son's blood wasn't adequate consideration. That's not the only problem here. In addition, the money was loaned to (invested in) the companies, not to Mr. Son himself, so Mr. Son wasn't liable for the debt.
Read the rest of the post (very entertaining, and includes some references to Nietzsche, so you can get your German philosophy fix) here.