Atchison, T. & S.F. R.R. v. Matthews
In Atchison, T. & S.F. R.R. v. Matthews, 174 U.S. 96, 19 S.Ct. 609, 43 L.Ed. 909 (1899), the Court sustained a state statute providing for a presumption of negligence on railroads in suits to recover for damages caused by fire.
The Court warned "that the equal protection guaranteed by the Constitution forbids the legislature to select a person, natural or artificial, and impose upon him or it burdens and liabilities which are not cast upon others similarly situated." (174 U.S. at 104, 19 S.Ct. at 612.)