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Business Law I (Law 101) World Wide Volkswagen V Woodson

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Sandra Watson
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Business Law I (LAW 101)

Brief of World- Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson

Brief of World Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson
I. Facts
Harry and Kay Robinson purchased a new Audi automobile from Seaway Volkswagen,
Inc. in New York State in 1976. The following year they left to move to Arizona. While
they were driving through Oklahoma, another car struck their Audi in the rear, causing a
fire which severely burned Kay Robinson and her two children. The Robinsons brought a
products-liability suit in the District Court for Creek Country, Oklahoma, claiming that
their injuries resulted from defective design and placement of the Audi’s gas tank and
fuel system. The Robinsons joined as defendants the auto manufacturer, Audi, its
importer, Volkswagen of America, Inc., its regional distributor, World Wide Volkswagen
Corporation, and its retail dealer, Seaway.
II. Issue
Whether, consistently with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, an
Oklahoma court may exercise in personam jurisdiction over a nonresident automobile
retailer and its wholesale distributor in a products-liability action, when the defendants’
only connection with Oklahoma is the fact that an automobile sold in New York residents
became involved in an accident in Oklahoma?
III. Decision
The Supreme Court reversed the Oklahoma court’s ruling. Foreseeability of being asked
to defend a suit in a particular forum is not a sufficient benchmark for personal
jurisdiction under the Due Process Clause. Instead, it is the defendant’s conduct and
connection with the forum state that determines whether it is reasonable for a defendant
to be haled into court. Because Seaway and World-Wide had no contacts, ties or relations
with the state of Oklahoma, jurisdiction would violate the Due Process Clause.

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Business Law I (Law 101) World Wide Volkswagen V Woodson

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