Alright, let’s have ourselves a hot coffee-spilling, plate-grabbing micro-quiz! This time we’re looking at a few Torts questions I’ve tossed together. Torts is quintessential subject for odd fact patterns and issue spotting, and has an extensive amount of different elements and factors to consider.
Disclaimer – these are not actual MBE Torts 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. Alright, let’s dive in!
MBE Torts Questions
Daryl drove his motorcycle to a street taco stand. When he rode up to the window, Carl the Cashier told him that they had just run out of tacos. Daryl got very upset, and produced a crossbow from his bag. He aimed the crossbow and let loose a bolt with the intention of hitting Carl Cashier. Instead, the bolt flew past Carl and instead hit Terry, who had just ordered the last taco.
Terry is seeking an action against Daryl for battery. Can he succeed?
A) No, because Daryl didn’t intend to hit Terry with the crossbow bolt.
B) No, because he did not know that Terry was nearby, and could not have foreseen any harm to him.
C) Yes, because the proximity of Terry to the taco stand made his harm a near certainty.
D) Yes, because Daryl intended to shoot Carl.
Hugh was collecting beaver pelts for his employer when he got separated from the rest of the group deep in the forest in the middle of winter. As he stumbled through the forest a blizzard began, obscuring his vision as the sun began to fall. Right as he was beginning to think he wouldn’t survive the night, Hugh came across a log cabin in the middle of the woods. Thankfully the door was unlocked, and he found the cabin unoccupied but well stocked with cans of beans. He ate two cans of beans and waited out the blizzard until leaving the next morning.
The owner of the cabin wants to bring action against Hugh, claiming damages from the eaten food and the use of his log cabin. Will he recover anything?
A) Hugh will have to pay for the two cans of beans, but that is all.
B) Hugh will have to pay for the two cans of beans and the value of a night’s rent of the cabin.
C) Hugh will not have to pay for anything because of the life-and-death circumstances of his use.
D) Hugh will have to pay the value of a night’s rent of the cabin, but that is all.
Joey Wheeler, a young boy, was playing cards with a friend on the front porch while his father was inside the house. Their next door neighbor was Seto, who had a prized set of rare lawn gnomes lining his concrete patio. After winning the game, Joey excitedly threw a single card across the patio. It twirled and twirled until colliding with a single lawn gnome with just enough force to send it crashing to the concrete, shattering. Seto ran outside and, in a fit of rage, threatened to kill Joey. Joey ran inside and told his father how he broke the gnome, and the threat that was made. Joey himself was actually not terribly troubled, but his father was severely disturbed by the threat made by Seto. He had a serious emotional breakdown as a result, requiring extensive therapy.
The father wants to recover for emotional distress. Can he?
A) No, because Seto did not physically touch or harm Joey.
B) No, because the father was not on the porch when the threat occurred.
C) Yes, despite the father not being on the porch when the threat occurred.
D) Yes, because the father would not have suffered emotional distress but for the threats made by Seto to Joey.
MBE Torts Questions Answers
Answer to Question 1: D
Here we’re taking a look at the doctrine of “transferred intent,” a large factor to consider for intentional torts. Intent to inflict a battery can transfer from the intended target to the accidental victim, as long as there was intent present. Here, Carl can use the concept of transferred intent in his action against Daryl.
A is incorrect because transferred intent applies in this case, which provides a substitute for the intent to shoot carl.
B is incorrect because the ability to foresee or not foresee a potential victim will not sever transferred intent.
C is incorrect because it is unlikely that Daryl was “near certain” to hit Terry while aiming at Carl, and because the applicability of transferred intent in this instance is strong.
Answer to Question 2: A
Here we’re going over the defense of necessity, particularly private necessity. Private necessity applies when a person’s circumstances force them in a position requiring the use of someone else’s property to save themself from death or substantial harm. Still, while the defense of private necessity will protect against tortious liability, a person still needs to pay for any harm caused on the property used. Here, the “harm” will be the two cans of beans he consumed from the property, which he will have to pay for.
B and C are incorrect they are either over-inclusive, or under-inclusive of Hugh’s obligation to compensate. He is liable for damages in the form of the consumed beans, which will not include the rental value of the undamaged cabin itself (making D incorrect).
Answer to Question 3: B
Here we’re looking at recovering for emotional distress, specifically when someone can recover when extreme and offensive conduct is directed at a third party. Recovery can occur in this third-party scenario if they were present when the conduct happened, they are closely related to the individual the conduct was aimed at, and the defendant knows or should know that the individual is present and will suffer severe distress for witnessing the conduct. Here, the father was not present on the porch, which is why he can’t recover against Seto.
A is incorrect because physical contact is not a necessary element to bystander recovery for emotional distress.
C is incorrect because it is relevant whether the father was actually present with the conduct occurred.
D is incorrect because it ignores the necessary element of the father being present when the conduct occurred.
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