Schlagenhauf v. Holder

PETITIONER: Schlagenhauf
LOCATION: Louisiana General Assembly

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 379 US 104 (1964)
ARGUED: Oct 13, 1964
DECIDED: Nov 23, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for Schlagenhauf v. Holder

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 13, 1964 in Schlagenhauf v. Holder

Earl Warren:

Number 8, Robert L. Schlagenhauf, Petitioner, versus Cale J. Holder, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana.

Mr. Smith, you may proceed with your argument.

Robert S. Smith:

If the Court please, Mr. Chief Justice and members of the Court.

I am here pinch-heading for Mr. Wilbert McInerney of the Washington Bar whose name is on the schedule.

We were in Mr. McInerney's office at nine o'clock this morning calling a cab and he got word that his wife had died.

He of course left immediately for the hospital.

I'm pinch-heading for him and I trust I can cover the ground.

This case arose in Indiana as a result of an automobile accident, I shouldn't say automobile, involving a Greyhound bus being driven by the petitioner here, Robert Schlagenhauf and a tractor trailer, the tractor being owned by the -- one of the respon -- not a respondent, one of the parties Contract Carriers, the trailer being owned by National Lead Comp -- Corporation.

It was being driven by McCorkhill.

That accident happened on July 13th, 1962 on Highway 40, some miles west of Indianapolis.

Shortly thereafter, personal injury litigation was filed, as a mater of fact four days or after, and asking for very substantial amounts of money from all of the parties I have named.

In November of 1962, the plaintiffs, Markowitz being her name, filed an amended complaint.

And in that amended complaint, no mention was made of the physical or mental condition of the petitioner Schlagenhauf.

Greyhound filed an amended cross-claim asking that General Motors be made a third party defendant asking judgment on its cross-claim against Contract Carriers, National Lead and General Motors.

Contract then filed its answer to the cross-claim of Greyhound.

Again, no mention was ever made of Schlagenhauf's physical or mental condition.

Later, in a letter to the District Court, Contract Carriers alleged specific acts of negligence on the part of Greyhound saying the defendant the Greyhound Corporation carelessly and negligently employed and caused its driver Robert L. Schlagenhauf to operate the said bus upon a public highway although he said Robert L. Schlagenhauf was not mentally or physically capable of operating the said bus upon a public highway at the time and place when said accident occurred, which fact was known or should have been known to the Greyhound Corporation.

The whole question involved in this case is an interpretation of Rule 35, the Rule permitting physical exam and mental examination of a party.

Rule 35 of course provides in an action in which the -- the mental or physical condition of a party is in controversy, the Court in which the action is pending may order him to submit to a physical or mental examination by a physician.

The order maybe made only on motion for good cause show and upon noticed -- upon notice to the party to be examined and to all other parties and shall specify the time, place, matter of conditions and scope of the examination, and the person or persons by whom it is to be made.

About this time in the proceedings, a petition was filed in the District Court by Contract Carriers asking that Schlagenhauf submit to physical and mental examinations.

Now it has to be remembered that Schlagenhauf is the unwilling dependent driver of the Greyhound bus.

I believe both Mr. Kightlinger and I can agree that there has never been an interpretation of the rule as it applies to an unwilling defendant as of this Court before.

Potter Stewart:

Every defendant is unwilling.

Robert S. Smith:


Potter Stewart:

Every defendant is unwilling.

Robert S. Smith:

That is correct, that is correct.

The rule says, a party.

Potter Stewart:

How -- how does this case differ.

I understand that it's complicated in because of the pleadings and because there are several parties for the cross-claims -- but is there any difference here basically between this case and an ordinary case in which a plaintiff has sued a defendant and then asked for a medical examination of that defendant?