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 Tort MBE questions on the Multistate Bar Exam. In this post, we will review one 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 Instructions:
Do your best to answer this 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? What is the rule and analysis? Finally, 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.
You can also watch us dissect this question in the video below!
Show the MBE Question...
Torts MBE Question
A man was building a home on a vacant piece of land. The man wanted to remove tree roots that stretched from a tree stump in the neighbor’s yard to his own yard. The man decided to dig beneath the neighbor’s yard and remove the tree roots. The digging caused no impact on the neighbor’s land and it did not interfere with the neighbor’s use or enjoyment of his land. Nonetheless, the neighbor sued the man for trespass.
Which party is likely to prevail?
(A) The man, because his decision to remove tree stump roots was reasonable.
(B) The man, because he did not interfere with the use and enjoyment of the neighbor’s property.
(C) The neighbor, because the man intentionally entered the neighbor’s property without permission.
(D) The neighbor, because the man did not give reasonable notice to the neighbor of his intent to dig up the tree roots.
Legal Rule and Analysis:
Choose an answer choice that most closely matches your conclusion and explain why the others are incorrect:
Show the Answer to the MBE Question...
Answer to the Tort MBE Question
Legal Issue: Did the man commit a trespass?
Legal Rule and Analysis: A trespass is the intentional invasion of the land of another. The man intentionally invaded the land of another (his neighbor). Invading the land a reasonable distance above or below the land “counts” as a trespass. So even if the man wasn’t walking on top of the neighbor’s land, digging under the land counts.
Conclusion: The man is liable for trespass. Thus, the neighbor is likely to prevail in the dispute.
Look at the answer choices provided. Choose an answer choice that matches your conclusion. Review the other answer choices provided.
The answer choice (C) is therefore correct.
(A) is incorrect because reasonableness is not a defense to an intentional tort. It makes no difference in this case whether the man’s actions were reasonable, as he intentionally invaded the land of another.
(B) is incorrect. This is language that you may see in a nuisance question (i.e., if one substantially unreasonably interferes with the use and enjoyment of another’s land, one may be liable for nuisance). Here, though, the question is whether the man is liable for trespass.
(D) is incorrect because notice that one is going to commit a tort does not make the commission of the tort okay! Notice would not change the result. For example, if A said “I’m going to punch you in the face” to B (and if A thereafter punched B), A would still be liable for battery. (Note: If the man received the neighbor’s consent, that would change the result, but notice does not!)
MBE Tip: Make sure to memorize the elements of each tort and to classify it in its appropriate category (intentional tort, negligence, etc.). Several of these answer choices used language that referred to other torts–like negligence and nuisance. If you have the rule for trespass memorized and you are able to classify it as an intentional tort, you can automatically eliminate the other incorrect answer choices.
Key Takeaways and MBE Tips From Prior Posts
Takeaway for the Law: A trespass is the intentional invasion of the land of another.
MBE Tip: Make sure to memorize the elements of each tort and to classify it in its appropriate category (intentional tort, negligence, etc.).
Want to See Past MBE Tip of the Day Posts?
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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