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De May v. Roberts

Michigan Supreme Court
46 Mich. 160, 9 N.W. 146 (Mich. 1881)



Roberts (plaintiff) was a poor, married woman confined to bed due to childbirth. De May (defendant) was a doctor who, accompanied by his assistant, Scattergood, came to visit Roberts at her home to assist Roberts with her pain. Scattergood was a young, single man, who was unfamiliar with the practice of medicine. De May brought Scattergood to help carry his equipment because De May was tired and not feeling well. Roberts did not object to Scattergood’s presence at her home because she thought he was a doctor, a medical student, or a medical assistant. During the visit, Scattergood held Roberts’ hand during one particular episode of pain. Thereafter, Roberts sued De May for damages, claiming he visited with the intent to deceive her and that Scattergood laid hands on her in an indecent manner. The trial court returned a decision in Roberts’ favor, and De May appealed to the Supreme Court of Michigan.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Marston, C.J.)

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