​You can sense the exasperation of the Delaware vice-chancellor in Whittington v Dragon Group LLC, 2013 Del Ch LEXIS 112, when he says the 'decades-long feud' among members of the Whittington family has entered its 'final chapter' but that 'regrettably, ... litigation between these parties undoubtedly will continue'. One promising sign was a settlement agreement entered into by the plaintiff and the 11 defendants, but indicative of the tenor of the dispute the plaintiff's later refusal to sign a release (required under the settlement terms) in favour of the other parties, on the grounds that his former lawyers had not also signed the agreement. The lawyers were owed fees, over which they asserted a lien; under the settlement, the defendants were to pay the fees directly. They argued that the lawyers had indicated to Whittington that this was OK with them, and in fact the defendants had paid money into escrow for the purpose.

Vice-Chancellor Parsons observed that 'nothing in the law of contracts requires that a contract be signed to be enforceable', and that this one was binding on the strength of Whittington's acceptance of written assurances that the lawyers were on side with the arrangement. Both Whittington and the lawyers had benefited from the placing of funds in escrow for the payment of outstanding fees, so Whittington could hardly argue that a missing signature gave him grounds not to do what was required of him under the settlement.