Union Pacific Railway Co. v. Botsford

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Union Pacific Railway Company v. Botsford
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued January 6, 1891
Decided May 25, 1891
Full case name Union Pacific Railway Company v. Botsford
Citations 141 U.S. 250 (more)
11 S. Ct. 1000; 35 L. Ed. 734
Court membership
Chief Justice
Melville Fuller
Associate Justices
Stephen J. Field · Joseph P. Bradley
John M. Harlan · Horace Gray
Samuel Blatchford · Lucius Q.C. Lamar II
David J. Brewer · Henry B. Brown
Case opinions
Majority Gray
Dissent Brewer, joined by Brown

Union Pacific Railway Company v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250 (1891) was a case before the United States Supreme Court.


A railroad passenger, Clara L. Botsford, sustained permanent injuries to her brain and spinal cord when a berth from a sleeping car fell upon her head. She sued the railroad for negligence in the construction of the railroad car which allegedly caused her injuries. The Union Pacific Railway Company claimed that it was entitled, without her consent, to an opportunity to surgically examine her to determine her diagnosis and the extent of her injuries.


The court disagreed, holding that there was no authority under the common law or statutory law for the trial court to order such an examination: "No right is held more sacred or is more carefully guarded by the common law than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law."[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Union Pacific Railway Co. v. Botsford". Justia. Retrieved 29 February 2012.