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World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson

United States Supreme Court
444 U.S. 286 (1980)


Harry and Kay Robinson purchased a car from World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. (World-Wide) in New York while they were still residents of that state. The next year the family left New York to move to Arizona. On the way they were struck by a car in Oklahoma. Mrs. Robinson and her children were severely burned in the car crash. The Robinsons brought a products-liability suit against World-Wide, claiming that the fire was a result of the defective design of the car. World-Wide made a special appearance to the district court, claiming that Oklahoma's exercise of jurisdiction over them violated the company's due process rights. World-Wide, a New York corporation, conducted no business in the State of Oklahoma. The district court ruled against World-Wide. World-Wide (plaintiff) then sought a writ of prohibition in the Supreme Court of Oklahoma to stop the district court’s Judge Woodson (defendant) from exercising personal jurisdiction over them. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma denied the writ. World-Wide then petitioned the United States Supreme Court and the case was granted certiorari.

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