Applying a liberal reading of the stream-of-commerce doctrine, a divided New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a product liability suit can be pursued against a foreign manufacturer whose only contact with the state is that one of its products was sold here through an independent distributor.

Justice Barry Albin, writing for the 5-2 majority, said that given the nature of modern international commerce and New Jersey’s long-arm rule, there is no reason why a foreign manufacturer cannot be held liable, even if it has barely any contact here.