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Tidewater Oil Company v. Waller

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
302 F.2d 638 (10th Cir. 1962)


Dennis Waller (plaintiff) was an employee of Spartan Aircraft Company (Spartan), an Oklahoma corporation. Waller traveled to Turkey as part of his employment to do repair work on mobile homes belonging to a pipeline company. While there, Spartan instructed Waller to perform similar repair work at a remote and isolated oil-well drilling site maintained by Tidewater Oil Company (Tidewater) (defendant). Tidewater transported Waller to the drilling site by airplane. The plane crashed, and Waller suffered serious injuries. Waller filed a diversity suit against Tidewater in federal district court in Oklahoma. Waller alleged that the negligent operation of the airplane and unsafe conditions at the airstrip caused his injuries. Additionally, Waller claimed his right to recover was governed by the laws of Turkey, under which Tidewater owed Waller a duty to exercise ordinary care in operating the aircraft and to furnish a reasonably safe landing place. Shortly thereafter, Waller filed a workers’ compensation claim with the Oklahoma Workmen’s Compensation Commission. The commission held Waller’s claim in abeyance pending the outcome of the litigation. Tidewater argued that Waller’s claim was governed by the worker’s compensation law of either Turkey or Oklahoma, and that the Oklahoma court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter. At trial, Waller presented no evidence of Turkish law applicable to the facts. The district court concluded that the laws of Turkey permitted recovery on Waller’s claim as if the injury had occurred in Oklahoma. The jury held in favor of Waller. Tidewater appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Murrah, J.)

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