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World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson

Supreme Court of the United States

October 3, 1979, Argued ; January 21, 1980, Decided

No. 78-1078

Reporter

444 U.S. 286 *; 100 S. Ct. 559 **; 62 L. Ed. 2d 490 ***; 1980 U.S. LEXIS 65 ****

WORLD-WIDE VOLKSWAGEN CORP. ET AL. v. WOODSON, DISTRICT JUDGE OF CREEK COUNTY, OKLAHOMA, ET AL.

Prior History:  [****1]  CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF OKLAHOMA.

Disposition:  585 P. 2d 351, reversed.

Case Summary

Procedural Posture

Petitioners, a New York car retailer and a New York wholesale distributor, sought a writ of certiorari from a decision of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, which denied their request for a writ of prohibition to restrain respondent, a state trial judge, from exercising in personam jurisdiction over them in a products-liability suit brought by the New York residents arising from an auto accident in Oklahoma.

Overview

New York residents purchased a new car from petitioner retailer. While driving through Oklahoma to a new home in Arizona, the purchasers' car was struck in the rear by another vehicle, causing a fire, which severely injured them. The purchasers brought a products-liability action in an Oklahoma court against petitioners, among others. Petitioners, which were incorporated in New York and did business there, entered special appearances, claiming that, because they had no minimal contacts with the state, Oklahoma's exercise of jurisdiction over them would violate their rights under the Due Process Clause of U.S. Const. amend. XIV. The Oklahoma trial court rejected petitioners' claim, and petitioners sought a writ of prohibition in the Oklahoma supreme court to restrain respondent, a state trial judge, from exercising in personam jurisdiction over them. The state supreme court denied the writ, holding that personal jurisdiction was authorized by Oklahoma's long-arm statute, Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 1701.03(a)(4) (1971). On certiorari, the Court reversed on due process grounds, finding that petitioners had no contacts, ties, or relations with the State of Oklahoma.

Outcome

Finding that petitioners had no contacts, ties, or relations with the State of Oklahoma, the Court reversed the state supreme court's denial of a writ of prohibition.

LexisNexis® Headnotes

Civil Procedure > ... > In Rem & Personal Jurisdiction > In Personam Actions > General Overview

Civil Procedure > ... > Jurisdiction > Jurisdictional Sources > General Overview

HN1 See Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 1701.03(a)(4) (1971).

Civil Procedure > ... > Jurisdiction > In Rem & Personal Jurisdiction > Constitutional Limits

Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Procedural Due Process > General Overview

HN2  Constitutional Limits

The Due Process Clause of U.S. Const. amend. XIV limits the power of a state court to render a valid personal judgment against a nonresident defendant.

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