It’s micro-quiz time! For today I’ve baked up (with love and a secret family recipe) a small batch of MBE Civil Procedure questions. The Civil Procedure section of the MBE is a fairly recent addition to the bar exam, first appearing in the February 2015 test. As a whole, this subject is one that relies even more than most on hard memorization. Filing deadlines, a plethora of different motions and claims, and a variety of other dry federal rules will be tested.
Disclaimer – these are not actual MBE Civil Procedure questions. However, I can say with confidence that they are fairly representative of the types of questions you will see, and cover concepts you will need to know. I’ve taken and passed multiple MBEs, both pre-2015 and post-2015, so I’ve seen the more recent version with the Civil Procedure addition. Alright, let’s dive in!
MBE Civil Procedure Questions
Joffrey is on trial, accused of murdering Ned. During the murder trial, the prosecution offered evidence that an axe matching the weapon used in Ned’s murder was found under Joffrey’s bed. Joffrey did not object when the axe was offered, and he was found guilty of murdering Ned. Joffrey appealed to federal court, arguing that the examination of his bed chambers violated his constitutional rights.
Will the federal court of appeals hear Joffrey’s appeal?
A) Yes, because it involves the potential violation of Joffrey’s constitutional rights.
B) Yes, because Joffrey has the right under Rule 11 to contest the presentation of evidence.
C) No, because Joffrey did not object to the presentation of the axe at trial.
D) No, because factual determinations by the lower court are not a proper basis of appeal.
Saul Goodman, in an effort to escape his boring life as an attorney, owns and operates a cinnamon bun establishment known as “Saul’s Hot Buns” in State A, where he resides. While making a delivery he negligently injured a woman and her passenger in a car accident, who are residents of State B. The woman filed a suit against Saul and claims $47,000 in damages. The passenger also filed a suit against Saul, claiming the exact same amount of damages. If they wish to bring their suit against Saul in federal court, will it have jurisdiction?
A) No, the federal court will not have jurisdiction over this suit because each plaintiff is only claiming $47,000 in damages.
B) No, the federal court will not have jurisdiction over this suit because the accident occurred in State A.
C) Yes, the federal court will have jurisdiction over this suit through diversity jurisdiction.
D) Yes, the federal court will have jurisdiction over this suit through federal question jurisdiction.
Tron, a resident in the State of Grid, was in the market for a new motorcycle. Tron went to a motorcycle dealer in the State of Grid and asked her advice, stating that he was interested in a good motorcycle for exploring the countryside, potentially on rough terrain. She recommended the new Light Cycle 3000, asserting that it “has impeccable traction no matter what the terrain.” Tron bought the Light Cycle 3000.
About a year later Tron was offered a management position at Flynn’s Arcade, in the State of Arjia, which he gleefully accepted. While moving to the State of Arjia Tron passed through the State of Argon, where he was caught in a hailstorm. He lost control of the Light Cycle 3000 and crashed into a billboard. The crash severely injured his right hand, which he used in semi-competitive ultimate frisbee. The recovery, which took place in the State of Argon, was long and extensive.
Tron later sued the motorcycle dealer, alleging that a defect in the Light Cycle 3000 caused his accident. He wants to bring this suit in the State of Argon.
Does the court in the State of Argon have jurisdiction?
A) Yes. The motorcycle dealer new that Tron was going to take the Light Cycle 3000 around the countryside.
B) Yes. The State of Argon has an important interest in how safe its roads are, and potential actions arising from them.
C) No. There were insufficient minimum contracts with the State of Argon to support jurisdiction.
D) No, unless the State of Argon owned the billboard that Tron collided with.
- Photo by Jan-Mallander
Question 1 Answer: C.
Here we’re reviewing the general rule that new objections cannot brought on appeal, and that Joffrey should have objected during the trial in order to preserve the matter for his potential appeal.
A is incorrect because, while certainly important, constitutional rights are not exceptions to this general rule concerning appeals. Joffrey should still have raised the issue at trial, constitutional or not.
B is one of those “random rule” points that either sticks out like a sore thumb, or tempts you into guessing. Rule 11 concerns sanctions and frivolous claims, and is irrelevant to this question.
D is a curve ball to make you consider whether different standards of review, for either a question of law or a question of fact, apply. Here they do not. In fact, any theoretical appeal concerning a constitutional rights issue would be one of law, not of fact.
Question 2 Answer: A.
Here we’re reviewing the concept of diversity jurisdiction. In order for diversity jurisdiction to apply, one of the requirements is that the amount in controversy must be more than $75,000. While it is true that a single person may combine the amount in controversy of their claims against a single defendant, one way to try and “trick” bar takers is to add an additional claimant. The woman and her passenger cannot add their damages together in an attempt to satisfy the amount in controversy requirement.
B is incorrect because the location of the accident is irrelevant to the question of federal jurisdiction.
C is incorrect because the amount in controversy requirement for diversity jurisdiction has not been fulfilled, since the two $47,000 claims of damages from different plaintiffs cannot be joined together.
D is incorrect because there is no federal-based statutory or Constitutional issue present in the question.
Question 3 Answer: C
This is a question over the concept of personal jurisdiction, and the methods of establishing personal jurisdiction over non-citizens. One of these methods is if a particular person or entity has minimum contacts with a state. The traditional minimum contacts analysis includes a number of factors, including if the party purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting business within the state, or if the party should reasonably expect to potentially be brought into court in the state.
Here the contacts between the motorcycle dealer and the State of Argon do not rise to the level of purposeful availment, and there is no reason for the motorcycle dealer to reasonably expect to have to appear in a State of Argon court. The motorcycle dealer may have known that the Light Cycle 3000 could be traveling the countryside, but there was no specific knowledge regarding the State of Argon, and there are no actions on the part of the motorcycle dealer involving or directed at the State of Argon.
A is incorrect because, although the dealer knew that the Light Cycle 3000 may be traveling the countryside, she did not know it would specifically be in the State of Argon.
B is incorrect because the motorcycle dealer did not have sufficient contacts with the State of Argon, despite the interest the State of Argon has in road safety.
D is incorrect because ownership of the billboard would not be a factor in the minimum contacts analysis required to bring the motorcycle dealer into court.
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I hope you found these civil procedure practice questions useful! I recommend perusing our other articles for many helpful tips, tricks, explanations, and insights into the examination.
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