MBE Simulator Exam 5
A man set fire to his grocery store in order to collect on the insurance. He started a blaze at night when the store was closed and no one would be on the premises. During the blazing fire, a fireman was killed. The authorities arrested the man on charges of arson and felony murder. He was convicted of murder at a jury trial. The man argued that he could not be convicted of murder because he never intended to murder anyone. Will the courts uphold the murder conviction?
A Wildlife Preservation League sued the U.S. Coast Guard to obtain a preliminary injunction to stop certain “war games” being conducted by the Coast Guard. The sonar blasts were allegedly disruptive to natural wildlife and fish populations. The plaintiff could not prove actual injury to wildlife, but did present expert testimony that this was a distinct possibility for the future. There was uncontested testimony by the Coast Guard indicating an increase in crime if the games were closed. The lower courts approved a preliminary injunction stopping the games until further order. This was based on the growing possibility that the wildlife would be disrupted and/or displaced. The Coast Guard appealed and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal. Is it likely that the Supreme Court will uphold the injunction, and why or why not?
A group of neighbors sued an industrial plant under the provisions of the federal Clean Water Act for discharging mercury and other poisons into a river near their properties. The group asked for an injunction and civil penalties to stop the discharges. The discharges were tested and exceeded the maximum amounts of several pollutants allowable under federal regulations. After the suit was filed, the industrial plant ceased the polluting activities and was able to get its discharges into compliance, and obtained a renewal of its permit. The company then asserted that the lawsuit was moot. What was the likely decision of the federal court?
A foreman in a slaughterhouse approached three female workers who were taking a proper 15-minute break and accused them of laziness, not doing their jobs, incompetency and taking an unauthorized break. He shouted profanities, various insults and accused them of “breaking the rules.” After a one-minute tirade, he left the area. One of the workers, a 69-year-old woman, became immediately ill, with complaints of chest pains, shortness of breath and anxiety. The employer transported her to a local hospital, where she remained for two days. Although all tests were negative, the doctor diagnosed severe panic attack. Despite no need for further treatment, and an apology from the foreman, she remained upset and stressed. She sued the foreman and the company for one count of intentional infliction of emotional distress, along with other claims. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the intentional infliction count for failure to state a legal claim. Will the judge grant the motion and dismiss the intentional infliction count preliminarily?
A man was under custodial interrogation as a suspect in the murder of a child. The police initially gave him a written list of his Miranda rights. They told him to read the list out loud, which he did. They then asked him if he understood the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present and he nodded affirmatively. He refused to sign the writing but did not ask for an attorney. During the next three hours they interrogated him and got few answers; he was largely silent but did respond at times with a “no” or “yes” or a nod of the head. Then one of the detectives asked him if he was ready to ask God for forgiveness for killing the child. His eyes welled with tears and he said “yes.” This opened further questioning leading to his admission of guilt. He would not sign a written confession or a waiver of the right to remain silent. He was arrested for murder and moved to suppress the confession. Will the court suppress the confession as being involuntarily given?
A man was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Police say that he killed his wife about two minutes after she returned home from a social evening. He had been drinking straight shots of alcohol for several hours before that. He claims that he was waiting to talk and not kill her. When she did come home, he was in an extremely intoxicated condition. He complained of her whereabouts and she responded by taunting him about his sexual deficiencies and uncontrolled drinking habits. He responded by picking up his gun from his desk drawer and shooting her. Will the prosecution likely succeed in its attempt to convict him of first-degree murder?
In a child sexual abuse case, the prosecution called a doctor to the stand to testify to statements made by the child victim regarding the abuse. She told the doctor during the medical examination after an extended period of abuse that she was slapped, hit and spanked by the defendant who was her mother’s boyfriend. She reported that he also penetrated her with his fingers. At trial, the prosecution put the doctor on the stand to testify, among other things, to those statements of the child. The defense objected on the basis of hearsay. Will the court likely exclude the child’s statements to the doctor?
A man was arrested on a federal crime that prohibits a person who has a prior felony conviction from possessing a firearm. The prosecution is usually satisfied to prove the existence of a prior felony by reading the date and the offense to the jury. Despite objections from the defense, the prosecutor insisted, with the court’s approval, on putting the full details of the man’s prior conviction for sexual assault on the record by reading the indictment and other pertinent details. The man had offered to stipulate to the date and penalty of the offense, and to have the prosecution read that to the jury and nothing else. The prosecution went ahead and read to the jury all of the details of the prior sexual assault conviction. The jury convicted him of the firearm possession charge after deliberating for 30 minutes. On appeal, he objected again to the unfair prejudice that he suffered by the court’s ruling. Considering the case law interpretations of Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, what is the most likely outcome.
Several casinos located in a state where gambling was legal placed advertisements about hotel prices and casino activities in newspapers in neighboring states that did not allow casino gambling. One of those states had a statute that prohibited advertising of casino gambling in any form or manner. A casino sued the state claiming an abridgement of First Amendment rights to free speech. The state responded that the rights of commercial speech were highly restricted and could not be used to advertise something that is illegal in the state. What would be the likely decision of the federal court regarding the statute’s constitutionality?
A man who works and resides in State A is injured seriously while using a defective lawn mower. The mower was made in State B where the manufacturer has a large manufacturing plant. The manufacturer is incorporated in State C where it has a registered agent and receives lawsuits and service of process. The manufacturer does business in State A but is headquartered, controlled and has its “nerve center” in State D. The man sues the manufacturer in a federal court in State A on a products liability tort claim. The complaint alleges serious and permanent injuries, a permanent disability, and damages in excess of $75,000. Leaving aside any potential questions of venue, is there subject matter jurisdictional authority for the case to be filed in State A and what is the reason for or against it?
A tenant moved into a single-family residence. She and the landlord signed a lease-purchase agreement, which applied $200 of each month’s rent to the purchase price of $50,000. The tenant agreed to get a mortgage within 33 months and to pay the full balance due, less the payments credited, on the final settlement date, which was set for 90 days after the 33rd month. A default by the tenant caused a forfeiture of all credits and voided the agreement. The tenant made 31 consecutive payments, but stopped on month 32, when part of the roof caved in causing an uninhabitable situation in the dead of winter. She put the rental payments in an escrow account. The landlord sued for eviction and termination of the lease-purchase agreement. The tenant answered that the landlord had breached the warranty of habitability. She also counterclaimed to compel specific performance of the agreement because she was ready to tender the balance due and take full title to the property. Under the circumstances, what is the most likely ruling of the court?
A man signed an agreement to purchase real estate from a woman for $10,000. He put $250 down at the time of signing the contract but was bound to put up another $750 within 10 days, so as to equal a total of 10% down, as per the written contract terms. The ten days passed without the balance being deposited. The purchaser’s broker told him that the title search revealed an ancient easement over the rear of the property allowing a farmer to take his sheep across the land. Nothing more was said about it. About 30 days after the date of the agreement, the seller gave written notice that she did not intend to perform the agreement and enclosed the check for $250 to the purchaser. The purchaser did not cash that check and put the remaining $750 in the escrow. He then sued for specific performance. Will the court enforce the agreement and compel the seller to sell under the contract?
A domestic day worker for a family decided to steal some jewelry that she had been admiring. She came back at night and entered a door that she knew was unlocked. She took several valuable pieces of jewelry that she had seen while performing her job duties. Someone in the house saw her leave with a bag and called the police. The worker was charged with burglary. Is there sufficient evidence to convict on the charge of burglary under the common law definition?
Every evening a bill collector would call the plaintiff every 30 minutes throughout the night. The caller would make threats about collecting the money owed but would also mention personal facts about the plaintiff’s private life, such as the names of his two prior spouses, the names of his children, his prior jobs, a prior lawsuit against him, and many other personal matters. Then packets of mail would arrive with photos indicating that the bill collector was following plaintiff and taking photos of him in his yard, outside with his dog, at family picnics and doing odd jobs around his house, and even inside his house, leading plaintiff to suspect and believe that a micro-video device was planted in his home. The plaintiff felt that nothing was sacrosanct and that the harasser seemed to know everything he did and everything from his past. He finally obtained information on the identity and address of the company engaging in the activities, and sued it for invasion of privacy and violations of federal and state fair debt collections practices acts. With respect to the invasion of privacy tort, will the court grant the motion to dismiss filed by the defendant company?
A law graduate applied for admission and licensing to a state bar committee. On the questionnaire she was required to complete a question that asked whether the applicant “had belonged to the Communist Party or any organization that advocated overthrow of the United States Government by force?.” It also asked for a list of all organizations joined in the past 10 years. The graduate refused to answer those two questions, citing First Amendment rights. She was denied her law license and sued the state committee. The case is accepted for review by the United States Supreme Court. What will be the most likely decision of the court?
A professional hockey player was traded from one team to another, with his existing contract being assigned to the new team. The contract had an option to require the four-time all-star player to sign a new three-year contract at a newly negotiated amount. The new team exercised the option. After successful negotiations, they agreed on and signed a three-year contract. However, that team later discovered that the player also signed a one-year contract with another team. Despite demands, the player has failed to assure his new team that he is going to honor the three-year contract. For that reason, the team filed an action requesting injunctive relief. What will the court most likely decide?
An owner and a buyer signed an agreement of sale for the owner’s residential premises. Time was of the essence. The closing date was set for 90 days from the date of the agreement. The buyer turned over a significant down payment, which was held in escrow by the real estate broker. The settlement was contingent on the buyer obtaining a conventional mortgage at prevailing rates within 45 days of the date of the agreement. The buyer promised to make a good faith effort to apply for a mortgage. The only mortgage that the buyer was able to obtain was a variable rate mortgage that was then set at 5 points above the prime rate. It contained a balloon payment in 5 years with a large balance that the buyer could ill-afford if he was unable to obtain new financing. The buyer advised the seller that he could not get a mortgage and demanded his down payment back. The seller disputed that the buyer could not get a mortgage and refused the refund. Will the court enforce the refund?
In 1970 a farmer purchased 50 acres of farm land. Several years later he built a house and lived on the property while also farming it. The property was landlocked, but there was a gravel road over the adjoining land directly to the nearest highway. Both the farmer’s land and the adjoining lot came from a larger parcel that was divided by the original owner. The farmer used the gravel road for farming and personal use. In 1991, a new owner purchased the adjoining land. She bulldozed the gravel road shut. The farmer filed an action in equity, asserting his absolute necessity to continue using the road to get to the highway. The new owner disagreed, and claimed that if an easement was granted by the court, it must be restricted to use only for crops at certain times, and that personal use should be disallowed or severely restricted because it was an unauthorized expansion of the original use. Which of the following would be the more likely decision of the equity court based on generally prevailing principles? The court will decree an express easement for the crops but the farmer’s personal use will be limited to twice daily. The court will decree that there is an easement in gross that can be used as long as the farmer pays a monthly charge to be determined by the new owner. The court will decree an implied license to use the adjoining property, which the new owner may terminate at any time. The court will decree an easement of necessity which includes the expanding reasonable use of the easement for any lawful use.
A small business sued an insurance company in federal court for failing to pay certain claims made. After completion of discovery, the insurer filed a motion for summary judgment, requesting dismissal of the lawsuit. In the meantime, the parties went to a scheduled settlement conference with the federal magistrate judge and agreed to settle for $75,000. The district court judge had, however, granted the pending summary judgment motion and issued an order of dismissal a day earlier. The dismissal order, however, had not been docketed and no judgment was entered of record. When the district judge learned of the settlement, she rescinded the order of dismissal and instead ordered the settlement agreement to be docketed. The insurer’s attorney then moved to have the settlement rescinded on the basis of mutual mistake. What is the best and most likely decision of the United States Court of Appeals when it hears the case on appeal?
A severely injured passenger sued the driver of the car (defendant 1) that crashed into the car she was riding in at the time of the accident. She also sued the driver of the car she rode in (defendant 2), claiming that both drivers were negligent in the accident. Defendant 2 wants his attorney to sue defendant 1 for contribution because he is insistent that the other vehicle was totally responsible and liable for all damages. Which of the following would be more appropriate for defendant 2 to file under the circumstances?
A building owner hired a painter to paint 20 office units that were vacant and being refurbished. They agreed to terms in writing, and the painter started on the work. After completing only two units, he received a written message from the owner repudiating their agreement and stating that his services were no longer needed. The painter ignored the message because he believed that his contract guaranteed him the full 20 units of work. He finished all units and sent a bill to the owner, who responded with a check for the first two units only. The painter sued the building owner for the full balance due. The building owner countered that he only owed up to the point that he repudiated the contract. Which of the following most closely states the probable decision of the court?
In a civil rights case, a former employee sued her former employer for racial discrimination in terminating her from her job. The employee proved the facts required to raise a presumption of racial discrimination against the employer. At that point, the burden of going forward shifted to the employer, who presented evidence that there was an innocent, non-discriminatory reason for firing her. Which of the following best describes the procedural posture of the case and the plaintiff’s remaining evidentiary burden?
A farmer contracted to sell 100 tons of his home-grown cucumbers to a wholesaler. An invasion of cucumber-eating insects attacked the crop and made it a poor season. The farmer delivered only 60 tons. The wholesaler claimed a breach of contract due to his being shorted 40 tons. The farmer sued the wholesaler for payment on the 60 tons, and the wholesaler counterclaimed for damages caused by the loss of the additional 40 tons. What is the most likely decision of the court?
A law in one state forbids the transportation or sale of tomatoes in the state that have a more than 10% “genetic engineering factor.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not use or mention genetic engineering factors in its standards for the sale and transportation of tomatoes. Tomato growers in a second state wish to ship tomatoes for sale into the first state but its tomatoes are in compliance only with the federal standards. The tomato growers’ association in the second state brought an injunctive action in federal court against the agricultural department of the first state to enjoin enforcement of the genetic engineering rule on the basis of federal preemption. According to U.S. Supreme Court precedent, how will the courts decide the preemption claim?
A consumer sued a company that makes and installs security alarms, claiming fraud. The consumer alleged that the company knew that some of its representations and hardware did not work as advertised. Prior to purchasing a security system, employees of the company reprinted news articles about the financial worth of the company and about the effectiveness of their security equipment, and distributed the articles to the consumer. These articles contained false and misleading information that made the company appear more established and their equipment more reliable than in reality. At trial, the plaintiff consumer offered these articles into evidence. The defendant company objected to the articles on the basis that they were hearsay. What is the likely decision of the trial court regarding the evidentiary objection?
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