Discovery & Privacy: The Special Instance of Physical and Mental Examinations Case: Schlagenhauf v.

Holder (1964, US) [CB 433-437]

Facts: Bus accident. P's sue for injuries, and sue the bus company, the driver, the driver of the tractor, the company which owned the tractor, and the company which owned the trailer attached to the tractor. All denied negligence. Crossclaim filed by bus company against the tractor company and the trailer company, alleging negligence on their driver (petitioner). Tractor company, after filing answer denying the claim, submitted a letter stating the bus driver was not fit to drive the bus, and demanded he be examined in four examinations: internal medicine, ophthalmology, neurology, and psychiatry. District Court, on basis of petition of tractor company, and w/o any hearing, ordered P to submit to the tests, nine total, despite the fact that the petition only requested four examinations. Petitioner applied for writ of mandamus, seeking to have the order set aside. Court of Appeals denied mandamus. Granted certiorari. Petitioner's brief in response stated the bus driver's condition was not an issue in controversy, and that the examinations proposed were without good cause. Trailer company proceeded to file a similar answer to the tractor company's. Issue: Under FRCP, may the trial court, on just the contentions of opposing counsel, move under rule 35, to have petitioner submitted for physical and psychological testing without asserting either contention in its complaint? Holding: No. There was at no time any statement regarding the physical or mental condition of P, and thus there is no cause for the District Court to impose the medical testing on P. Vacated and remanded. Reasoning: Driver did not assert that his mental or physical condition as a defense or claim; his condition was sought by opposing parties. Rule 35 requires that the party requesting a physical or mental examination has adequately demonstrated that the condition on which the exam sought is in controversy and that there is good cause for ordering each particular exam (must be decided individually for each exam). The tractor company claimed that his eyes and vision were impaired. Nothing in the pleadings or affidavits would warrant a basis for believing driver was suffering from some illness which the exams were sought for, and also there is nothing that justifies the broad internal medicine exam. The only exam that would have been appropriate was an eye test. Therefore the "in controversy" and "good cause" requirements of Rule 35 are not met. RULE: The requirement of Rule 35, of "in controversy" and "good cause" need to be met if the party has not affirmatively put at issue his own mental or physical conditions.

Notes • Driver wasn’t even a party when he was ordered to undergo the examinations. • Petitioner claims: it is unconstitutional, and a due process claim that it invades privacy. ○ No due process violation b/c all privacy issues are taken care of in the context of the rule. Congress had the power to create such a rule, and did it by the Rules enabling act. • In order for this to be in the power of supreme court, has to be procedural, not

substantive (cause then have to use state law) ○ Not designed to breach any particular outcome, but just to help with a speedy dispute, so it is procedural • So now question is: is the request that was made here meet the criteria of Rule 35? • If info sought is in controversy, there still has to be good cause shown. ○ If one party is saying his eyesight is horrible, and he shouldn’t have been driving w/o glasses, and other party says no, then this is in controversy ○ If he produces an eye test taken right be4 accident that shows his eyesight is fine, then you would have to show that there is good reason to show he needs to take another eye test - like saying the first report is a forgery.