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Supreme Court of the United States
December 17, 1940, Argued ; January 13, 1941, Decided
[*6] [**423] [***481] MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case calls for decision as to the validity of Rules 35 and 37 of the Rules of Civil Procedure for District Courts of the United States. 1
[****10] In an action brought by the petitioner in the District Court for Northern Illinois to recover damages for bodily injuries, inflicted in Indiana, respondent answered denying the allegations of the complaint, and moved for an order requiring the petitioner to submit to a physical examination by one or more physicians appointed by the court to determine the nature and extent of her injuries. The court ordered that the petitioner submit to such an examination by a physician so appointed.
Compliance having been refused, the respondent obtained an order to show cause why the petitioner should [*7] not be punished for contempt. In response the petitioner challenged the authority of the court to order her to submit to the examination, asserting that the order was void. It appeared that the courts of Indiana, the state where the cause of action arose, hold such an order proper, 2 [****11] whereas the courts of Illinois, the state in which the trial court sat, hold that such an order cannot be made. 3 Neither state has any statute governing the matter.
The court adjudged the petitioner guilty of contempt, and directed that she be committed until she should obey the order for examination or otherwise should be legally discharged from custody. The petitioner appealed.
The Circuit Court of Appeals decided that Rule 35, which authorizes an order for a physical examination in such a case, is valid, and affirmed the judgment. 4 The writ of certiorari was granted because of the importance of the question involved.
The Rules of Civil Procedure were [***482] promulgated under the authority of the Act of June 19, 1934, 5 which is:
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312 U.S. 1 *; 61 S. Ct. 422 **; 85 L. Ed. 479 ***; 1941 U.S. LEXIS 1032 ****
SIBBACH v. WILSON & CO., INC.
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT.
CERTIORARI, 309 U.S. 650, to review the affirmance of an order committing for contempt.
Disposition: 108 F.2d 415, reversed.
district court, federal court, physical examination, contempt, substantial rights, substantive law, Conformity, courts, mental examination
Civil Procedure, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Erie Doctrine, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Mental & Physical Examinations, Discovery & Disclosure, General Overview, Governments, Federal Government, US Congress, Courts, Authority to Adjudicate, Misconduct During Discovery