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Date: 11-03-2022

Case Style:

Michael D. Galier v. Murco Wall Products, Inc., Welco Manufacturing Co and Red Devil Corporation

Case Number: 2022 OK 85

Judge: Darby

Court: Supreme Court of Oklahoma ona ppeal from the District Court, Oklahoma County

Plaintiff's Attorney:

Defendant's Attorney:

Description: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma personal injury lawyer represented Plaintiff, who sued Defendants on product liability theories.

Michael Galier brought a negligence and products liability action against Defendant/Appellant/Petitioner Murco Wall Products, Inc., a Texas manufacturer, alleging exposure to Murco's products caused him to contract mesothelioma. The Oklahoma County District Court denied Murco's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and, following a jury trial, granted judgment to Galier. The Court of Civil Appeals affirmed. This Court denied certiorari. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari, vacated the Court of Civil Appeals' decision, and remanded for reconsideration in light of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County, 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017). The Court of Civil Appeals reaffirmed the district court. We previously granted certiorari to address whether the Court of Civil Appeals properly found that Oklahoma possesses specific personal jurisdiction over Murco.

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¶8 The district court denied Murco's motion, ruling Oklahoma had general jurisdiction. See Tr. of 2d Mot. Hr'g 32-33 (June 21, 2013). After a two-week trial in May 2015, the jury found that Murco was forty percent responsible for Galier's injury and awarded damages. The district court granted judgment to Galier on July 6, 2015.

¶9 Murco appealed and the Court of Civil Appeals affirmed the district court on February 3, 2017. This Court denied certiorari on June 19, 2017. On the same day, the United States Supreme Court issued Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Franciso County, 582 U.S. ------, 137 S. Ct. 1773, 198 L. Ed. 2d 395 (June 19, 2017), clarifying specific personal jurisdiction. Murco petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari on the issue of personal jurisdiction, which the Court granted on February 3, 2018. The United States Supreme Court vacated the Court of Civil Appeals decision and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of the newly issued Bristol-Myers opinion.

¶10 Following remand, the Court of Civil Appeals determined that the Supreme Court did not intend "to establish a general rule that a plaintiff must present evidence tracing the path of an allegedly dangerous product from manufacturer to end user in order to establish specific personal jurisdiction." COCA Op. ¶ 21, July 19, 2018. COCA stated that it was not persuaded that Galier needed to present proof to the degree of specificity urged by Murco and further stated that Murco's products "did not arrive in the forum by chance or the random flow of commerce." See id., at ¶¶ 20, 22. The court noted that Murco "desired to exploit a feasible market," had "significant sales of its asbestos joint compound to Oklahoma customers," "considered shipping costs[,] and then purposefully targeted its asbestos joint compound into Oklahoma because it was within its calculated profitability zone." Id., at ¶ 22. COCA concluded by explicitly finding that Oklahoma properly exercised specific personal jurisdiction over Murco and affirming the district court again. Id., at ¶¶ 25, 72. We granted certiorari.

¶11 Murco argues that the Court of Civil Appeals acknowledged Bristol-Myers and Montgomery v. Airbus Helicopters, 2018 OK 17, 414 P.3d 824, but nevertheless essentially applied the same analysis upon which it originally affirmed the district court's determination of personal jurisdiction. Murco asserts that a nonresident's sales to third parties located in the forum, even if substantial and continuous, do not amount to specific jurisdiction unless the plaintiff can show his claimed injury arises directly from those contacts which the nonresident purposefully created in the forum. Murco emphasizes that Galier provided no evidence to show where or how any of Murco's sales contacts occurred, only that Murco had sales to third-party Oklahoma customers. Further, Murco postulates that the reference to a salesperson with a territory inclusive of Oklahoma offers no proof that this unidentified person ever created a relevant contact in Oklahoma, nor for that matter, provides any information regarding the salesperson's actions, or whether he or she ever set foot in Oklahoma, or created any sale in the forum. As a result, Murco argues that the injury did not arise out of its forum contact in order to permit Oklahoma to assert specific personal jurisdiction over it in this case. In response, Galier argues that Murco's sales ledger from 1972 to 1973 demonstrated Murco sold its products to Oklahoma customers and knew such customers would ultimately sell to subcontractors or other Oklahoma residents down the line.

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Outcome: Affirmed

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


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