MBE Simulator Exam 1

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Plaintiffs agreed in writing to sell to defendants a single-family home for the sum of $40,000. The contract provided that this sum would be paid over a 15-year period with interest, in monthly installments. The sellers agreed to convey legal title upon payment in full as agreed. The purchasers were entitled to possession of the property, and all taxes, assessments and water rates, and insurance became their obligation. The contract provided that if the purchasers defaulted and failed to cure the default within 30 days, the sellers could elect to call the remaining balance immediately due, or elect to declare the contract terminated and repossess the premises, keeping all monies paid as liquidated contract damages. Defendants made improvements to the property, and made the payments for 10 years until one of them became disabled. At the time of default they had paid about $30,000 total of which 20,000 was applied to principal. The plaintiffs sued the defendants for breach of the contract, got a judgment against them, and evicted the defendants. Defendants appealed, claiming that they had equitable title, and a foreclosure action had to be first instituted. What result?

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A married couple own a residential premises. They received a foreclosure action from the first mortgage lender in a state that has judicial foreclosure procedures. The state also statutorily extends the right of redemption both prior to the sale, and for a period of one year after the sale. The sale took place; the property was sold to the lender. The lender then filed a deficiency judgment action. The couple received a loan from family members about six months after the sale. It was sufficient to pay the balance on the mortgage plus interest and costs. The couple notified the lender and the court of their intent to exercise their right of redemption. What is the likely outcome?

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A waitress was opening a bottle of a popular soft drink to serve to a customer when the bottle broke into two jagged pieces and inflicted a deep and long cut that severed blood vessels, nerves and muscles of the thumb and palm of the hand. She later had to have several operations to restore use of and feeling in the hand. In a lawsuit against the manufacturer, the waitress alleged negligence and strict liability in tort, but found it difficult to prove the nature of the defect. She presented several witnesses familiar with the fact that some of the bottles would explode, but the cause was unknown. She proved that she did nothing wrong with the bottle and that it remained in the same condition as when it left the manufacturer’s plant. She also proved by expert testimony that there were tests that the manufacturer performs or can perform on the bottles to give a fairly foolproof determination whether the bottle is safe. The defendant moved for summary judgment for failure to prove a defect and failure to show causation. What legal theory can the plaintiff rely on to establish liability in this kind of a situation?

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A police detective received an anonymous call that marijuana was being grown in someone’s home, but no other details were given. She went to the home with an investigative team including a drug-sniffing dog. On the front porch of the home the dog began pacing back and forth frantically, which indicated smelling illegal drugs. The team retreated while some of them went to get a warrant. A warrant was issued based on the dog’s behavior. The search inside revealed large quantities of marijuana. The homeowner was arrested. Through counsel, he filed a motion to suppress based on the assertion that the use of the dog was an illegal search without probable cause thus rendering the warrant invalid. Should the court suppress the evidence?

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In a civil action for injuries, the plaintiff contended that the highway was slippery on the bridge where the auto accident occurred. She testified that the other driver was going too fast for the slippery conditions. The defendant driver of the other auto denied that the bridge was slippery and claimed that the accident happened when he had to veer his car to escape a pothole. The plaintiff denied that there were potholes on the bridge. Defendant admitted that it had been raining at some point prior to the accident. The judge, being familiar with the bridge, took judicial notice that its surface always gets slippery when there is rain, and that there are no potholes on it. The plaintiff won the case, and the defendant appealed on the basis that it was legal error for the court to take judicial notice of disputed facts. What will the appellate court decide?

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In a lawsuit for personal injuries allegedly arising from a surgical procedure, the plaintiff claimed total disability due to the improper implantation of metallic screws to treat a disabling lumbar spine condition. She offered the testimony of an orthopedic surgeon, whose qualifications were uncontested, to testify to causation. The expert testified in his deposition that he did not examine the plaintiff but did examine medical records, except for x-rays. He testified that the surgery caused the disability. He admitted to other causes that could have the same effect, but testified without explanation that he didn’t think they were applicable. He testified to the surgeon’s negligence but didn’t say how it caused the present disability. The defendant filed a motion to exclude the expert from testifying because the proposed testimony did not satisfy the requirements of Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. What is the trial court’s likely decision under these facts?

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An industrial manufacturing plant was producing large volumes of a new chemical combination to be marketed worldwide that was guaranteed to instantly and humanely kill death row inmates receiving their executions. The plant was blowing the exhaust fumes from the manufacturing process out into the atmosphere through massive industrial fans, apparently to help protect employees inside the complex. On days with a wind in the air, the invisible particles were traveling to adjacent neighborhoods and creating a permanent, invisible coating that was detectable by scientific testing. The highly dangerous chemical film had destroyed a number of residential homes – consulting experts advised the residents to move out of the homes and to raze the structures. These residents brought actions against the manufacturing plant for the damages they suffered, including pain, suffering and distress. What is the likely successful theory that they will assert against the manufacturer?

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A regular customer left his car at an auto mechanic’s shop with instructions to: check the engine and tune it up; make sure the brakes were all in good working order; examine the tires; and, to otherwise check and repair all major systems because the customer was going on a long driving tour through other states. No discussion of price or words of agreement were spoken between the parties. When the customer picked up the car, there was a bill for $5,000 left on the seat to his attention. All of the services and parts listed pertained to the areas stated in the customer’s instructions. He refused to pay, claiming that there was no agreement and that the mechanic didn’t get advance approval for all of the repairs. Can he be held responsible for contractual service performed?

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A husband applied for a life insurance policy for $50,000 on his life, listing his wife as the beneficiary. He paid the insurance company an initial amount of $100 at the time of submitting the application. The agent accepted the down payment, which represented two months of the premium payment. In exchange for this payment, the agent gave the husband a "conditional receipt." A few days later the husband died in an auto accident. The wife as beneficiary demanded payment despite the fact that the insurance company had not officially issued a policy and the husband had not taken a required medical examination required in the wording of the application. The company denied liability, asserting that certain conditions contained in the application and in the conditional receipt (namely the taking of the medical examination) had not been fulfilled by the applicant. The insurer claimed that the condition precedent (the medical examination) was never performed and the contract was not formed. What is the most likely decision of the court?

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A bank sues a homeowner in a civil foreclosure action. The homeowner does not respond and a judgment is entered in favor of the bank. Several months later, the bank files to execute on the judgment and set a date for a sheriff's sale. Due to backlogs, the sale will take place in six months, which will be well over one year from the date of entering the judgment. The homeowner hires an attorney on the same day that the request for sheriff's sale is filed by the bank. The attorney immediately files a motion for relief from the Order under Rule 60(b). The homeowner alleges as grounds for relief that the bank committed fraud and used "robo-signing" methods whereby the person allegedly signing the foreclosure papers did not actually sign them, making the judgment void. The defendant objects on the basis that the motion was not filed within a reasonable time. Will the court likely rule that the motion was filed too late?

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A mother was called by a witness to the scene of an accident in which her son was involved. She did not observe the accident, and arrived about 15 minutes later. When she arrived the cars had been towed away and the scene was substantially cleared of debris. However, she saw her son, conscious but on an oxygen ventilator, being lifted onto the rear of an ambulance and driven away. She suffered emotional distress, thinking that her son was severely injured and not knowing at that moment whether he would survive or not. The son did survive the accident and recover. She later sued the other driver who had caused the accident by his negligent driving. She asserted the tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress in her complaint. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that he had no duty to compensate the victim’s mother and that the mother did not observe the accident. Under the view expressed by the majority of state court decisions, will the court likely grant the motion and dismiss the case?

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A man was arrested and prosecuted for importing and selling heroin. In pre-trial proceedings, he objected to the introduction of two guns, one a short-barreled rifle which was modified with a silencer and the other a loaded .38 caliber handgun. They were found in his bedroom during a warranted search for drugs. They were in the drawers of a cabinet that had drug packaging materials and a scale on top of it. He argued that the guns were irrelevant to whether he had imported or sold heroin, and that the introduction of the weapons would unfairly inflame the jury. What is the likely decision of the trial court with respect to the defendant’s motion to exclude the weapons?

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The owner of real estate neglected to pay his real estate tax bills. The county tax bureau sent a notice by certified mail to him at the property address informing that the property would be sold at a public sale if the taxes were not paid. Nobody was home to sign for the letter and nobody claimed it. It was returned to the county marked “unclaimed.” One year later the property was advertised in the local newspaper and exposed to public sale. Prior to completing the sale, the county sent another notice to the owner that came back “unclaimed.” The buyer at the sale tried to evict the owner. The owner filed a complaint against the county and the buyer claiming a taking of his property without due process. The state courts held that the procedure complied with due process notice. The case came before the U.S. Supreme Court. What was the likely decision of the Supreme Court regarding the method of notice provided here?

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A city school board presented a bond issue to the public for $5 million to modernize some city schools. During the public debate on the proposal, a middle school teacher had published two “letters to the editor” criticizing the “duplicitous” practices of certain school board members in using “backroom politics” to try and get the vote approved. He doubted the need for new expenditures and criticized the superintendent of schools for trying to influence teachers on the issue. After the bond issue passed, the school district brought internal charges against the teacher, and after a hearing he was fired. He brought a state court action claiming an unconstitutional interference with his First Amendment free speech rights. The claim was rejected, and the highest state appellate court upheld the termination. After hearing the case on appeal, will the United States Supreme Court uphold the teacher’s firing?

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A wife told her husband that she had extramarital relations with one of his friends, who was also his co-worker. The husband was enraged but “cooled off” by the next day when he went to work. At work, he approached the adulterous friend and asked why he did it. The so-called friend replied that the husband was a cuckold, the laughing stock of the office, and that he should open his eyes to the many sexual encounters that his wife had had behind his back. In a fit of rage, the husband returned home and violently strangled his wife to death. The stories of widespread infidelity were not true. The state prosecuted the husband for first degree murder but he defended on the basis that he acted in a heat of passion. Which of the following best describes the criminal liability of the defendant?

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A woman sued her former employer for sexual harassment. She testified that a supervisor harassed her daily with sexual innuendos, insulting comments, unwanted physical touching, and threats of termination if she did not cooperate. She testified that the harassment was pervasive and continued for many months. She stated that the employer refused to take action, which compelled her to resign. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment at the end of discovery. They claimed that she was psychologically disturbed, under a psychiatrist's care and that all of her accusations were the fictitious creations of a sick mind. Apparently, because the plaintiff's counsel chose not to respond or file a brief, the court granted the summary judgment motion and dismissed the case. Is the dismissal likely to be upheld by the Circuit Court of Appeals? No, because the refusal of the employer to conduct an investigation into the woman's charges disqualifies the employer from requesting summary judgment. Yes, because a plaintiff who is under the care of a psychiatrist will face a presumption that her testimony is in fact tainted by her mental illness. No, because the motion for summary judgment challenged the plaintiff's credibility, thus raising a material dispute of fact. Yes, because the plaintiff did not file a response to the summary judgment motion, thus allowing a default to be entered against her.

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In a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff's attorney sends a notice to the defending doctor to appear for her oral deposition. Because the doctor did not appear the first time it was scheduled, the plaintiff sends a subpoena ordering the doctor to attend and to bring her medical file with her. The respective lawyers discussed the matter but did not stipulate to the deposition, although the doctor's counsel have not objected to the scheduling notice. Does the doctor have to attend and bring her records?

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A seller conveyed a real estate parcel to a buyer through a quitclaim deed for $1.00. At the time, the seller was not the owner of the property. Later on, the seller became the owner in fee simple absolute by virtue of a gift of the property in the will of the now-deceased owner. The buyer demanded that the seller provide him with a warranty deed to reflect that the buyer's title as owner was absolute. Leaving aside whether the buyer could sue the seller for fraud, what is the nature of the buyer’s interest in the property at the time that he demanded the warranty deed?

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A developer signed a contract to purchase 100 acres of land for construction of single-family dwellings. The land price was $100,000. The contract was contingent on approval of a subdivision plan being accepted by the township for 70 one-acre homes and 30 acres of open space. The subdivision plan was filed with the township but shortly thereafter, the township passed a zoning ordinance that increased the minimum size of building lots in rural areas to five acres per home, in order to preserve the rural nature of the countryside and prevent too much population growth. There was known to be little or no market for five-acre homes. The developer sued the township on the basis that the ordinance was not a reasonable use of the police powers and the property should revert to the original one-acre limitation. The county court denied the developer’s request for injunctive relief against the zoning board. Will the appellate court reverse the county court and issue an order declaring the new 5 acre rule to be an unreasonable and arbitrary use of the police power?

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A man and woman lived together unmarried for 19 years. He assured her that they would live together as husband and wife but without the restriction of an official marriage license. She relied on those promises when giving up plans for a career in business. She assisted him in many substantial ways over the years as he progressed to becoming a successful neurosurgeon. During the years they displayed all of the trappings of being a married couple. When they split up, he refused to give her anything, saying that it was a meretricious relationship. She sued in state court claiming an interest in his income, profits and property. She claimed an express contract or an implied-in-fact agreement to share the economic wealth that was accumulated. The trial court dismissed, saying there could be no claim if there was no marriage. What is the most likely decision of the appellate court?

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A state’s voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that prevented any city, town, or county in the state from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to recognize gay and lesbian individuals as a protected class. The state’s highest court ruled that the measure could not pass strict scrutiny, and was a denial of equal protection for gays and lesbians. The proponents of the act appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. What will the Court decide with respect to the validity of the law?

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A drywall subcontractor submitted an offer to a general contractor for proposed drywall work on a small office building being constructed. The bid was for $20,000 for all drywall supplies and labor. The contractor factored the experienced subcontractor’s bid into its final bid and was awarded the contract. A few days later the subcontractor informed the contractor that it had worked on the figures and realized that it underestimated the cost of the project. The subcontractor refused to do the job for less than $35,000. The contractor hired another subcontractor to do the work for $30,000 and sued the first subcontractor for the $10,000 difference over the original bid of $20,000. Will the court likely award the $10,000 to the contractor and against the first subcontractor?

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A state passed Public Health Law 2122(a), which provides for exemption from immunization for school age children if they are "...members of a recognized religious organization whose beliefs are opposed to immunizations..." A couple applied to the school district for an exemption from immunizations on behalf of their child. They were not members of a recognized religious organization; instead, they requested an exemption based on their personal spiritual beliefs against immunization. Will the courts declare the existing exemption to be invalid?

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A bankruptcy attorney advised a client that he could be committing a crime if he did not disclose all assets on his personal bankruptcy schedules. The client signed a form agreeing that he had received specific legal advice from regarding the legal duty to reveal all assets. The client was later prosecuted for bankruptcy fraud for allegedly not fully disclosing assets in his bankruptcy papers. In the federal court prosecution, the United States Attorney subpoenaed the attorney to testify regarding the advice given to the client and to authenticate the acknowledgment signed by the client. The defendant objects to that evidence on the basis of it being inadmissible and in violation of the attorney-client privilege. What is the most likely decision of the trial court regarding the admissibility of the attorney’s proposed testimony and the exhibit?

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A state statute made it a crime to be addicted to the use of narcotic drugs. A man was arrested and charged with the crime. Two officers testified that they examined “track” marks on the defendant’s arms and wrists, and that the man admitted to using drugs. However, he testified and denied saying that to the officers; instead, he said that he was having an allergic reaction. The trial court instructed the jury that it could find the man guilty of the crime on proof that he was observed to be using drugs and appeared to be addicted to narcotics. The jury found him guilty based on the observed track marks and the man was sentenced to six months of incarceration in a state penitentiary. He appealed on the basis that this was cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by both the state and federal constitutions. Will the conviction likely be reversed?

Correct! Wrong!

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