Firm Sues Dead Actress For Being Beaten by Her Husband – And Wins

Choi Jin-sil holding back tearsA simply outrageous story, that couldn’t really wait for my “Korean Gender Reader” on Monday.

But, given the similar case of the singer Ivy (아이비), whose reputation was ruined by her ex-boyfriend threatening to release a sex-video of her to the media in late 2007, and who was later sued by advertisers for this despite the video never actually existing, then this latest case with Choi Jin-sil (최진실) is exceptional only in degree really.

However, in suing an actress that committed suicide, the unnamed construction company (Update: It’s Shinhan/신한건설) below may well have pushed the limits of public acceptability, and this will hopefully incur a backlash that will far outweigh the relatively small gains now to be provided by her estate.

To play Devil’s Advocate for the moment though, the appeal was probably submitted to the Supreme Court well before Choi Jin-sil’s death in October last year (Update: Indeed, it was submitted 5 years ago). But even so, of course it is deplorable that the company submitted the original suit in the first place, and I’m sure that it would have still been possible to withdraw it afterwards.

Models who failed to maintain appropriate dignity as representatives of the products they represent should compensate for the damages caused to their advertiser, the top court ruled.

The Supreme Court reversed the original ruling and ruled in favor of a construction company that filed a suit against the deceased actress Choi Jin-sil, who committed suicide last October.

The company, upon hiring the top actress as their representing model in March 2004, concluded a contract stating Choi’s duties to pay back 500 million won ($399,361), should she depreciate the company’s social reputation.

However, in August, Choi appeared on television and newspapers with her face full of bruises, allegedly caused by the violence of her then husband and retired baseball player Cho Sung-min.

Choi and Cho, who had been living apart since 2002, divorced soon after the incident.

The advertiser company thus filed a suit against the actress, requesting for 3 billion won as compensation. The amount included the 500 million won in damages as stated in the contract, additional compensation of 400 million won and 210 million won in advertising costs spent by the company.

“The purpose of the brand model contract is to use the model’s social reputation and images to draw the customers’ interest,” said the Supreme Court in the ruling. “The model’s failure to maintain an adequate image constitutes a breach of the hiring contract.”

The concept of the apartment Choi was supposed to advertise was dignity and happiness, and Choi, as its model, was under the obligation to act accordingly, said the court.

A lower court said in an earlier ruling that Choi could not be held responsible for depreciating the image of the apartment or the company as she had not been proven guilty of causing her former husband’s violence.

Choi’s mother presented herself at court, as legal representative of her two children who succeeded their mother’s duties and became defendants of the case.

The estimated value of Choi’s estate is about 5 billion won, including real estate and bank savings, according to her family.

(Source: Korea Herald)

See here for more information about domestic violence in Korea, and #2 here for more on a custody battle which Choi Jin-sil’s family also had to face in October 2008, but which her ex-husband was persuaded to give up (see here and here), and which in turn ushered in positive changes in the Korean legal system. Here’s hoping this latest case will similarly have a silver lining, and force Korean companies to rethink the ethics and long-term financial value of insisting on compensation for events beyond celebrities’ control.

47 thoughts on “Firm Sues Dead Actress For Being Beaten by Her Husband – And Wins

    • Unfortunately, all the Korean-language news reports are also using an anonymous name for the company. I’m looking for articles about the original suit in August 2008 2004 now (update: found!).

  1. So many outrageous court rulings in Korea. So many. That country’s judical system is 100% garbage. Total worthless. Women of Korea — LEAVE! IMMIGATE TO THE WEST!

  2. “and Choi, as its model, was under the obligation to act accordingly”

    Perhaps they should’ve put a clause in the contract that requires her husband to act accordingly.

  3. I completely agree with LMG. Well, maybe they couldn’t put that in her contract but surely they could sue him instead! This is ridiculous, it’s made me genuinely angry. I hope Koreans also get furious about this, the only way it’s likely to change is from the inside. People should disagree with this in Korea, and they should bloody make a point of making sure everyone knows about it.

  4. hi, i have been reading ur blog religiously for over a month now, i love it~it just so happens that i share similar interests on gender studies/women’s rights and the media in asia as well..ur posts are so enlightening about the situation in south korea..i was moved to comment on this post..i couldn’t believe my eyes when i saw ur title..i thought u MUST have’d made a grammar mistake but omg, i can’t believe how fucked up the judiciary is in korea…i mean the Supreme Court somemore??!! HOW CAN YOU SUE a woman for being a VICTIM of domestic violence?? I mean for the company to even think about this and then for the court to legitimise it..omg…i sure hope no female star gets molested or even worse, raped, cos this AWFUL precedent would mean that they could then be successfully sued for having been molested or raped…its like punishing the victim a Second Time, i am so angry…

  5. Though I’ve been here for more than 7 years now, it’s things like this that make me believe I will not miss this place very much when I leave next spring… It’s actually things like this that really made me want to end my time here.

  6. Yeah! Korean justice rocks!

    Seriously, the logic is impeccable: under Confucian rules, superiors can kill, rape, molest, kidnap, burn, and steal from their inferiors (and women are always inferior) — and that’s OK. The problem is the disruption to social harmony created by the rare instances when an inferior dares complain in public. Thus Choi Jin-Shil, who got what she deserved after going public with her masterhusband’s bad behavior.

    Ya gotta love it.

  7. @weikuman

    You forgot ur ironic HTML. Confucianism is no more what u describe than an English teacher being an intellectual. STFU.

  8. I just read the Korean post about this, and was pleased to see that the few comments that people had left there seemed to be critical of this decision. As I said in my previous comment, it’s going to take a hell of a lot of Koreans to be very public in their criticism of this sort of ruling for the powers at be to maybe sit up, take notice and do something about it.

  9. Thank you for very informative note. I spend few minutes to fill the form on company website and drop the email about what western world consider as ethical behaviour. ;)

  10. Wow – the most surprising thing is that the Supreme Court thought that Shinhan had such a slam-dunk case that it merited overturning a lower-court ruling.

  11. Wow…I certainly hope this gets overturned fast. Or alternately, that her family turns around and successfully sues Choi’s husband (though this still wouldn’t get rid of the taste of injustice in their mouths, I’m sure).

    • Ironically for a post that’s generated so many comments so quickly, I don’t have too much to add unfortunately.

      Chinese Chic–Thanks, and I used to live in Melbourne by the way, back in *cough* 1990. Was too expensive for my parents and so they we left after a year, but not before I rode up and down the all the cycle tracks along the beaches up and down Port Philip Bay 100 times…sigh…

      Liked your posts about Taipei: have a friend there and have been 2 times, and with its 7 million people and physical size I often think it would be that nice place to live, being not too big but still having all the advantages of being the biggest and most cosmopolitan city in the country.

      Tc–Weikuboy did go overboard, but it’s understandable. There’s more polite ways to let him know then telling him to STFU, yes?

      Seamus–What Korean post exactly (there’s hundreds!)? Could you please pass on a link?

      Steve–No, I stole their headline!

      Tomek–Good on you…ahem…for actually doing something about it…*cough*

      I didn’t realize you had a blog too by the way: I’ll make a stab at it as soon as I get the chance, although naturally I’ll have to skip over all the Polish! And thanks again for those videos you sent me.

  12. Argh, can’t remember where the article I saw was! I showed your article to my girlfriend, then a couple of hours later she came to me with a Korean one, and said look, Koreans disagree with this too. When I get the chance I’ll try and get her to find it again, sorry!

    • Thanks, but it’s no big deal. I haven’t looked at many Korean articles myself yet – except for when I was looking for the name of the company – but I’d have been very very surprised if there was anything but a lot of controversy and anger over the decision.

  13. “Confucianism is no more what u describe than an English teacher being an intellectual.”

    And Islam isn’t flying planes into skyscrapers in New York; Christianity isn’t murdering medical doctors in church lobbies in Kansas; etc. Yet that’s kind of where we’re at in today’s Korea, where the rule of law is still by all accounts a very iffy proposition.

    Think about the despicable judicial decisions you’ve read about recently. The long list of rape victims whose ajosshi assailants received slaps on the wrist, or were acquitted entirely for preposterous reasons. The actress who divorced her husband and ended up being threatened with prison over adultery. The “investigation” that followed the suicide of the actress who left detailed statements of her being forced to prostitute herself. Etcetera, etcetera. Now ask, what do all those cases have in common?

    Is your point only that Confucius’s wisdom has been perverted, and that the old man himself would’ve never approved of such injustices by those charged with having the upper hand in his system of unequal relationships designed to insure social harmony? Fine. Go tell it to the ajosshis. Correct their bad behavior. Then perhaps I’ll have a better opinion of your great sage.

  14. WeikuBoy, firstly, Confucius stressed that all in higher positions in the society should be morally superior, and constantly work to “cultivate the self.” That’s where their authority comes from. What you can see here IS actually a perversion of that concept, as the people passing these rulings and so on clearly aren’t morally superior. So on that basis, I do think Confucius would have disapproved.

    Secondly, he also never said that women are inferior to men. It was simply that in in the society of the time, women had no role in education or the state, so Confucius didn’t speak about their roles.

    Lastly, I’m not really sure what you’re trying to get at here. This is a terrible decision, and I don’t think there’s any need for you to try and explain it through Confucianism or anything else. The blame lies with the judiciary system. They should know better.

    If you’d like to read more about how Confucianism has distorted itself in modern Korea see here

  15. [Confucius] never said that women are inferior to men. It was simply that in in the society of the time, women had no role in education or the state, so Confucius didn’t speak about their roles.

    So to exclude women from meaningful roles in “modern” Korea is in keeping with, or a perversion of, the great sage’s teachings? Hint: (LOL) Nothing’s changed in 2500 years.

    This is a terrible decision, and I don’t think there’s any need for you to try and explain it through Confucianism or anything else.

    But it’s not just one bad decision; that’s my point. It’s merely the latest in a long line of bad decisions in a supposedly modern society that describes itself as neo-Confucian and whose legal system may best be described as ajosshi justice (as in “just us”).

    Just this past week I saw an ajosshi “teacher” hit a young woman who is old enough to be a wife anywhere else in the world (but who won’t marry in Korea for another ten years or more) in the back with all the force he could muster – twice – and another ajosshi teacher punch a male student in the face – only the second time that I’ve seen an actual closed-fist punch by a male teacher to a student’s face.

    Yeah! Korea’s justice – and education – systems rock! Go Confucius! You real genius!

  16. Well, you seem to have completely ignored my reply, and the facts. You simply can’t blame all of those things on Confucius. I’m not saying Confucianism is perfect, or that it isn’t playing a part in things like this, but you have to look deeper than that.

    • How the hell did 9/11 ever get mentioned on my blog? Jesus.

      WeikuBoy, I’m no fan of any religion – I’m an atheist actually – but I would reiterate every point Seamus made, and could provide a wealth of evidence I’ve provided on the blog about the negative features of Korean society you describe being due to a host of factors beyond simply Neo-Confucianism. But given that fact that you just completely ignored his last comment, then I don’t think I’ll waste the effort.

      Moreover, I strongly suspect that your willingness to criticize and generalize Neo-Confucianism disguises an almost complete lack of knowledge about it. No? Then prove me wrong, by providing actual evidence and coherent arguments in your comments. But if you continue to just rant away and ignore replies, then I’ve got no problem with banning you.

  17. The only part of the Seamus Walsh comment I didn’t directly respond to was the first paragraph, having to do with moral superiority, cultivation of the self, and the failure to live up to those ideals as a perversion of the concept. I didn’t respond to it, because I don’t contest it. Indeed, one of the first things I said is that today’s neo-Confucianism probably has as much to do with the original teachings as militant Christianity has to do with Jesus; etc. Which is to say, not much.

    Nevertheless, here we are, in a land that, so I’ve been told many times, values social order and harmony above all things and thus proudly follows the Confucian tradition. A central idea of which is the notion of unqual relationships, as between a ruler and his subjects, the head of a household and his family, a teacher and his students — and by extension into our era, a boss and his employees, and of course men and women generally (now that women are allowed to venture outside of the family compound).

    While living here, I’ve read about case after case in which things go much worse for the “junior” in such relationships than they do for the “senior”, even after the junior goes public with the senior’s bad behavior. The case at hand, where a woman who has since killed herself was successfully sued for damages after publicly revealing her husband’s physical abuse, is such an instance. I therefore suspect that, regardless of the senior’s behavior, it is considered bad form in Korea and a disruption of social harmony for the junior to complain; and my belief seems to be supported by the practice of pressuring victims of ajosshis to accept money and not pursue criminal cases. (“You’ll ruin his whole future; be reasonable, you’ll only hurt his family.”)

    I took such “neo-Confucianism” (as it exists in today’s Korea) and used it as a unifying theory to try to tie together and explain the otherwise inexplicable string of judicial decisions that have left us westerners with our mouths hanging open. If anyone has a better way of explaining Korea’s legal system, I’d certainly like to hear it. James, you alluded to lots of other factors at play here, but then declined to take the time to name them. Perhaps that’s the problem here. I don’t claim to be an expert in any of this; yet I’ve put far more time and effort into my comments in this thread than any of the people who do claim to have superior knowledge.

    Above all, I’m only trying to understand this person “Korea” with whom I’ve had such an intense relationship during the past two years. I realize I come across a bit strong over the innertoobz, especially at first as an unknown; but my goal is learning as much as possible in a very short time, and when I’m wrong I admit it without hesitation. I don’t appreciate being accused of bad faith and threatened with banning. I thought this blog was the best forum to air this particular idea; perhaps I was wrong. In any event, you’ll not see me here again, at least not for a while.

    • Weikuboy—for someone who described Islam as “flying planes into skyscrapers in New York,” Christianity as “murdering medical doctors in church lobbies in Kansas,” and Confucianism as a set of rules under which “superiors can kill, rape, molest, kidnap, burn, and steal from their inferiors” with impunity, then I really don’t understand your childish pique at my describing your comments as overly critical and generalizing. Considering that you claim to have written “that today’s neo-Confucianism probably has as much to do with the original teachings as militant Christianity has to do with Jesus” above though, when you clearly said the exact opposite, then – to give you the benefit of the doubt – I might venture to guess that this anger of yours stems from you not realizing that whatever you intended to write is nothing at all like what you actually did write.

      Indeed, looking at your last comment again, you also say you didn’t respond to Seamus’s comment because you didn’t contest it…but then what you wrote sure as hell sounded like the exact opposite. For someone who claims to have spent a lot of “time and effort” on this thread previously, you did a damned good impression of someone writing whatever came off the top of their head in less then 5 minutes.

      So, when I first saw your comment last night I was at first thankful for what appeared to be the greater time spent and more reasonable tone of it, but after I’ve reread it this morning I’ve changed my mind. Not only do you repeatedly claim to have said things that you didn’t, but you’re so presumptuous as to take the high ground and: construe that my criticisms are accusing you “of bad faith” (do you actually know what that phrase means?): to imply that my calling you to task for your generalizations and rants somehow makes my blog not the right place for that “particular idea” (and which idea is what exactly? Understanding Korea? Learning about Confucianism? Do you know that either?); and to “not appreciate” my threatening to ban you? Seriously, out of 2500 comments on this blog, that is easily the most pompous I’ve ever read, and if that’s indicative of the attitude I can expect from you in the future, then frankly I’m glad that you’re so hurt as to not visit this blog for a while. Don’t expect much sympathy for your rants and back-flipping on other blogs and forums though.

      If I might finish on a more constructive note though, you mention “a society that describes itself as Neo-Confucian”, “under Confucian rules,” and so on. Where do you get these descriptions? From whom? I’d wager that 9 times out of 10 that in fact they’re from expats and/or the authors of very very general books about Korea, and that 9 out of 10 of them in fact know squat about it. In case that sounds patronizing, for over 8 years I used to use it to explain many Korean sociological phenomena a lot too, but I also really knew precisely squat about it until I started actually researching a little for this blog…and, relatively speaking, I still do really. If you really want to understand Korea, it’s seriously not a bad start to pretend that Confucianism doesn’t actually exist at all, and try to look for other factors involved in whatever it is you’re studying. In all likelihood, they will be just as relevant.

      Moreover, be aware that many Koreans hate the way Confucianism is used to justify a lot of negative things here too, and that many disagree with it. Sure, not enough do, and the education system not encouraging critical and independent thinking is a big factor in this, but when you don’t understand something like being shouted at and hit by a boss or teacher, look at things from the victims’ perspective: to stand out and challenge is to invite a sacking or bad grades. It’s very easy to criticize the behavior of others, particularly of those from another culture, when we don’t face the consequences of challenging it. Which is not to say that we or they shouldn’t though.

  18. Pingback: Korea Failing to Protect its Vulnerable Populations Violence Cover-Up, Apathetic Law-Enforcers » The Hub of Sparkle!

  19. Avoiding the poisonous religious angle, along with Samsung and Lee Jae-yong’s succession to his father’s authority, perhaps public choice theory has more to offer in explaining this abuse of power. It’s also a trial for someone with a positivist reading of the law to avoid running to a natural rights perspective.

    • Please elaborate: I’m afraid that even an obvious geek like my myself either hasn’t heard of or has no real idea what “public choice theory,” “positivist reading of the law,” and “natural rights perspective” mean…

  20. What I see here is just a bunch of hypocrisy and ignorance.

    It’s just a commercial matter that got public attention because the defendant is a famous actress and she committed suicide.

    What people fail to see here is that It’s just a civil case involving an ordinary celebrity marketing contract with obligations stipulated to both sides and she failed to fulfill her obligation.

    The title of this treat is misleading people to believe that this “outrageous” is caused by the “incompetence” of Korean judiciary system and that she got sued because she got beaten by her husband, but that’s wrong because the legal action is based on the breach of the contract that states that she must preserve her image keeping away from scandals. Obviously she failed.

    If you think this situation is unfair than blame this kind of marketing contracts that is signed by all celebrities around the world, even in the USA and Europe.

    Do you remember Michael Phelps smoking marijuana? Is the same kind of situation, only she is dead.

  21. So if Michael Phelps was held down by a gang of frat boys and force-fed a hash brownie, he could be sued for violating his contract? Do you really think any western judges WOULDN’T befoul their own robes from laughing so hard at this idea?

  22. I’m with angry steve. She was a VICTIM of domestic violence. Yeah, I suppose she could have stayed indoors and worn sunglasses instead of being photographed in public, but on the other hand, the company actually SHOULD be going after the husband, not her, if they’re worried about the image of their “property”. Unless “didn’t know when to shut up” is admissible evidence in court in Korea. Jeez.

    They could have, say, made her the centerpoint of a bunch of Shinhan sponsored PSAs about women’s rights and domestic violence — making themselves look like good guys and Choi a victim. Instead they went for the dick move and sued her. There are so many ways they could have been more responsible sponsors.

  23. The company can’t sue the husband. He didn’t sign contract with them.

    Celebrities with publicity contract have to control their public image. The companies don’t care about their personal life as long as they keep it personal.

  24. A lot of korean entertainment sites are reporting this, and the netizens are furious. Knowing how harsh korean netizens can be, I think this company is gonna be in a lot of trouble. Atleast thats what im hoping for.

    Korean netizens once drove a girl to commit suicide, scary right? I hope they use their power for good this time, do something to drive that company crazy.

  25. @ Excel

    I don’t see hypocrisy here. Granted it is a commercial matter, this is clearly a case of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” The woman is DEAD and they couldn’t have the common sense and decency drop the lawsuit? At this point, they are going after her estate, which is tantamount to robbing her children and is heaping on grief her family should not have to deal with after the untimely death a family member. Have they no shame?

    And what about abusing this law? Clearly it was put into place to punish wayward party girls, not to exploit victims of domestic abuse.

    Well Shinhan, I hope you’re happy b/c it’s now making it to the US by way of entertainment sites. Your model finally piqued the interest of the masses for the company; any publicity is good publicity right?

    @James

    Perhaps he is referring to Hobbes’ and Locke’s State of Nature?

    I must say that I absolutely love your blog. I have a tutee (South Korean national) who just completed a sociology course led by Prof. Choi Jang Jip (Prof. of Poli Sci and Director of Asiatic Research Center @ Korea University) @ Stanford and I have been wading waist deep in the history, economics, and politics of modern Korea for the last 3 months. Not that Prof. Choi is anything to scoff at, it’s very refreshing to read your blog after the dry history/sociology/political science texts I’ve been choking down.

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  27. Chinamerican,

    I’m happy with your answer because you seem to be the first person here to acknowledge that this is not a cultural or social problem neither the failure of Korean legal system, rather a commercial dispute between a company and a deceased actress.

    If you want to blame someone blame the company or the contract but don’t make general assumption on Koreans just because a company decided to take a legal action against a popular celebrity because of breach of contract.

    The furious reaction from Korean people shows that this is not a common behavior among Koreans, besides, as I pointed out before, she is not being sued because she got beaten by her husband as the title of this tread suggest.

    Regarding the decision of Korean court, under the legal point of view they did the right thing, and that’s the point. Judges are not expected to judge based on their emotions or feeling, nor based on the clamor of the mass, but within the strict boundaries of the law, and that’s what they did.

    Don’t accuse the judges of rewarding a violent husband committing domestic abuse against her wife, because that’s not the subject of this legal action. Choi’s husband will be punished according the law, in a separated case if the law says so.

    Korean judges are being appointed to key positions in international courts because of their merit.

    Again, if you think this is an unfair situation blame the contract and the company.

  28. Hmmm, lots to deal with here. Wish this theme had numbers on its comments! Since my last comment then…

    Excel—Naturally, I don’t think it the title of my post is misleading: it is, literally, what occurred, and I have enough faith in my readers’ intelligence to assume that they aware that that isn’t the technical reason Choi Jin-sil’s estate was sued.

    Moreover, other then the people who just wrote one-liners – whose comments should never be taken very seriously – I see little evidence that most people on this thread “failed to see” that like you claimed; that people primarily blame the Supreme Court judges or the incompetence of the Korean judicial system for it; nor that people are blaming all Koreans for the decision. And given that you also wrote that the “furious reaction from Korean people shows that this is not a common behavior among Koreans,” whereas I wrote in the actual post that I expected much the same thing, then from where I’m sitting your comments seem to be more in reaction to your own stereotypes of what non-Koreans especially might say and feel about this case rather than what they actually did say. Granted, you may well have read much of what you describe on other blogs and forums, but you didn’t on this one.

    Roboseyo—That was a good idea for what Shinan should have done.

    Chinamerican—Thanks for the compliment, and Baltimoron referring to Hobbes and a State of Nature came to mind too, but unfortunately I haven’t studied either since my freshman year!

    By the way, everyone, see this thread at Dave’sEslCafe for some discussion of how this relates to clauses about reputations in contracts with stars in Western countries.

  29. Wow. And late to the party I see.

    This case may only be more outrageous because of the facts or our own beliefs that someone should not be held responsible for things out of their control. I can’t control the weather – should I be sued if I’m the weatherman? I can’t control being hit by a drunk driver – should my school fire me because I’m laid up in the hospital?

    The contract is made essentially to protect the company in many conceivable ways(they are, after all, the people that write them), which makes sense. The only way to do something, in many cases, is through a monopolistic contract that leaves little available for negotiation. Sure, she could try and change the contract – but that sort of clause was in there for good reasons.

    The legal decision was technically correct – and was judged without biaas or emotion as it should have been – but what I’m trying to figure out is the AMOUNT. From the OP:

    The advertiser company thus filed a suit against the actress, requesting for 3 billion won as compensation. The amount included the 500 million won in damages as stated in the contract, additional compensation of 400 million won and 210 million won in advertising costs spent by the company.

    500+410+210 = 1,120 million, or 1.1 billion won. What about the other 1.9 billion? Legal costs?

    Silver lining? Let’s hope that those filing litigation consider extenuating circumstances in the future.

  30. @ Excel

    I am indeed extremely angry at this company because they are clearly manipulating the law to their advantage. They are no longer suing her as she is dead; they are going after her estate and it only makes them look like greedy, money-grubbing degenerates. This is infuriating not only because the shortcomings of this law are finally being revealed at the expense of women who are already victims but because, like the case with Ivy, sets a dangerous legal precedence for this miscarriage of the justice to be perpetuated.

    You are right, judges should not bend to the will of the popular opinion but judges are also not just robots that reduce things to simply black or white. They are chosen to INTERPRET the law so that justice may prevail and that it protects and punishes as it was designed to.

    I have not and do not begrudge the Korean people for this. Very few of them have anything to do with this situation directly but it’s not exactly a secret that the government, big industry (chaebol), and press are in cahoots with each other. I think it is absolutely ludicrous that a COMMERCIAL matter such as this has survived for 5 years and made it all the way to the highest courts of the nation! This IS a failure of the judicial system if a commercial matter could not be handled in lower regional courts expediently. This is not some sort of landmark case that should change the fabric of Korean society like abortion or gun control; it is a breach of contract and had it a leg to stand on, it should have been dealt with and finished four years ago. Not only is it wrong on the multiple levels I’ve just mentioned but it is a flagrant waste of taxpayer funds. Surely the judicial branch of the Korean government has more pressing issues than a breach of contract.

    I think I just had a conniption.

  31. James:

    I think Chinamerican and Excel are mining the vein I’m thinking about. I’d like to lay off the cultural angle too. Public choice theory uses economics to look at non-economic events, like voting or jurisprudence. One variant is game theory, which I’ve been reading about. Legal positivism severs legal and ethical notions by examining the actual events determined by scientific laws. Natural law opposes positive law with laws of nature (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, et al) that are universalizable. Court decisions like this almost invite people to flee into natural law refuges to escape the consequences.

    It’s hard to make this approach stick without documents, like testimony of the judge or other parties to the suit. Aside from language problems, I doubt the people involved in this episode want to disclose their involvement. Most of what I do comes from declassified documents made public well after most people stop caring.

    The advantage of this is, that it’s possible to compare, say, South Korean judges to American ones.

  32. Pingback: Firm sues dead actress for being beaten by her husband – and wins « ilbonito blog 2007

  33. Pingback: Jo Sung Min, ex-husband of Choi Jin Shil, commits suicide … oh well? | Asian Junkie

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