Legal battles are often a solid source of entertainment, especially when they illustrate unusual situations. One recent verdict in Taiwan is just such a case – a dentist is forced by the court decision to pay his mother back for the investment she made in his training.
To be sure, Taiwanese civil law obligates children to financially care for their elders, although this is usually a de jure situation. Parents don’t normally sue their dubiously grateful offspring in case their support skills are lacking. A woman identified as Luo (her first name) decided early on that she would not take such a contingency lying down, and had her two sons sign contracts, entitling her to a hefty percentage of their monthly earnings after graduation, up to $1.7 million.
One of her two sons settled the matter out of court, for a smaller sum. The other, identified by his last name – Chu – decided to contest the contract, stating that he had signed it while still too young to actually realize the strain it would put on his finances. After all, he was to pay his mother 60% of his monthly wage. He also stated that the years of work he performed in his mother’s dental clinic helped bring in even more money than the sum stipulated in the contract. After refusing to pay for several years, his mother took the matter to court, and won in spite of all these arguments.
Cases like this one are not unheard of in Taiwan, but this one is particularly interesting because it involves a preemptive contract. The Taiwanese supreme court simply decided the contract is valid under law, and Mr. Chu gets no mitigating circumstances. He is now ordered to pay back the entire owed sum retroactively, with interest.