MBE Tip of the Day: Torts
Welcome to our MBE tip of the day series. This “MBE tip of the day” post focuses on torts.
You will see 25 scored torts MBE questions on the Multistate Bar Exam. In this post, we will review a torts question together. Note that we have posted several MBE tips (which you can find links to at the bottom of this post) that focus on a specific multiple-choice question that many students answer incorrectly. If you can master these questions, it could increase your MBE score by that many points if you see any of these issues tested again (which, by the way, you will!). These posts of MBE tips and tricks will not only cover substantive law but also strategy. So each “MBE tip of the day” post covers one highly-tested area of substantive law as well as an important MBE strategy. You can sign up to receive these posts directly to your inbox for the upcoming administration at the bottom of this page.
MBE Tip of the Day: Torts
MBE Tip of the Day Instructions:
Do your best to answer this torts MBE question (before even looking at the answer choices and before looking at the answer below!) Ask yourself: What is the subject? What is the legal issue, rule, and analysis? What is the conclusion? Try to answer these beginning questions before even reading the answer choices. Then, uncover the answer as well as read more about our MBE tip of the day.
Torts MBE Question
A factory is located on the edge of a town. The factory is a major producer of plastics, which it supplies to manufacturers across the country. With the development of new technology and products, there is a great demand for a new type of sturdier plastic. In order for the factory to produce this plastic, the factory began using chemical reactions that released a toxic gas into the air. After the factory began production of this plastic, hundreds of citizens in the town started to complain about the gas. It brings with it an unpleasant odor and is also causes sickness. This gas has been proven to cause many significant illnesses and thus is jeopardizing the health of the community.
A citizen of the town sues the factory for public nuisance.
Will the citizen recover?
(A) Yes, if the use or enjoyment of the citizen’s property has been unreasonably interfered with.
(B) Yes, if the citizen has suffered some sort of damages or injuries that are unique to those suffered by the rest of the town.
(C) No, if the factory has not acted unreasonably and has taken all feasible precautions to limit the gas.
(D) No, if it is deemed that the factory is not acting intentionally to spread the gas across the town.
Legal Rule and Analysis:
Choose an answer choice that most closely matches your conclusion and explain why the others are incorrect:
Answer to the Torts MBE Question
Legal Issue: Nuisance
Legal Rule and Analysis: A private nuisance is when there is a substantial unreasonable interference with the plaintiff’s use or enjoyment of his or her property. On the contrary, a public nuisance is when an act unreasonably interferes with the health, safety, or morals of a community. Typically the government brings a public nuisance case. However, an individual plaintiff can bring a public nuisance claim if he or she has suffered damages or harm that is unique from the other members of the community.
In this case, we are told that the citizen is bringing a public nuisance claim. The standard for this claim is that the defendant’s act must unreasonably interfere with the health, safety, or morals of a community. Toxic fumes invading the town that are causing the spread of not only odors, but significant illnesses certainly constitute an unreasonable interference with the health of a community. However, since a private plaintiff is bringing this claim, this citizen must establish that he or she suffered harms or damages that are unique to those of the rest of the town in order to succeed.
Conclusion: The citizen will succeed if he or she has suffered some sort of damages or injuries that are unique to those suffered by the rest of the town.
Look at the answer choices provided. Choose an answer choice that matches your conclusion. Review the other answer choices provided.
The answer choice (B) is therefore correct. (A) is incorrect because it describes the standard used for evaluating a private nuisance claim. We are told in the facts that this is a public nuisance claim. (C) is incorrect because it does not matter in a nuisance claim if the factory has acted reasonably. The use of the word “unreasonable” in the standard for nuisance claims refers to the harm caused – the interference with the health, safety, or morals must be unreasonable. If it is, then a nuisance exists. (D) is incorrect because the defendant’s mental state does not matter in a claim for nuisance. Nuisance is not an intentional tort, so there is no requirement that the defendant acted intentionally or intended the unreasonable interference.
MBE Tip: Memorize the standards used to evaluate each cause of action in order to eliminate incorrect answer choices. Like the question above, many questions require you to know the various standards that will be applied to each type of tort in order to identify the correct answer. The incorrect answer choices will apply the incorrect standard (i.e. the standard for some other tort) to the facts. Thus, if you pay close attention to the call of the question to identify the relevant tort and then have the appropriate standard memorized, you should be able to narrow down the answer choices to the correct answer.
Key Takeaways and MBE Tips From Prior Posts
Takeaway for the Law: A public nuisance is when an act unreasonably interferes with the health, safety, or morals of a community. In order for a private plaintiff to bring this claim, he or she must suffer damages or harm that is unique to that suffered by the community.
MBE Tip: Memorize the standards used to evaluate each cause of action in order to eliminate incorrect answer choices.
If you would like to see “MBE tip of the day” posts from prior days, please check out all of our past MBE tip of the day archives here! We have several of them and we list them by subject!
Looking for additional MBE help? If you are looking for MBE help, read our 10 expert MBE tips here. Check out our step-by-step guide to improving your MBE score, please review this post for an overview of tips. If you would like to have the next MBE tip emailed to you when we come out with another one, please fill out the form below.
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