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A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person, who acts directly or by an agent, as to a cause of action or claim for relief arising from the person's causing tortious injury in the State of Oklahoma by an act or omission in the state or causing tortious injury in the state by an act or omission outside Oklahoma if he regularly does or solicits business or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered, in the state. Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 1701.03(a)(3)-(4) (1971).
The gasoline tank of an automobile ruptured when the car was struck in the rear. The injured parties brought suit against petitioners and the manufacturer and importer of the automobile. Petitioners sought a writ of prohibition to prevent the trial judge from exercising jurisdiction over them.
Could the Oklahoma trial court exercise personal jurisdiction over petitioners?
The court denied the writ. While it was true that the alleged acts or omissions of the petitioners that allegedly caused tortious injury in Oklahoma, none of petitioners' acts or omissions alleged took place in the state. However, the product sold and distributed by petitioners was, by its design and purpose, so mobile that petitioners could foresee its possible use in Oklahoma. Further, the evidence presented below demonstrated that goods sold and distributed by the petitioners were used in the Oklahoma and that the petitioners derived substantial income from automobiles that from time to time were used in the Oklahoma. As such, the trial judge had the power to exercise personal jurisdiction over petitioners.