GertrudePerkins wrote: missinglink wrote:
My daily venting about the quality of some of the MBE problems, this one for torts:
A well-known politician was scheduled to address a large crowd at a political dinner. Just as he was about to sit down at the head table, the defendant pushed the politician's chair to one side. As a result, the politician fell to the floor. The politician was embarrassed at being made to look foolish before a large audience but suffered no physical harm. If the politician asserts a claim against the defendant for damages because of his embarrassment, will the politician prevail?
A. Yes, if the defendant knew that the politician was about to sit on the chair.
B. Yes, if the defendant negligently failed to notice that the politician was about to sit on the chair.
C. No, because the politician suffered no physical harm along with his embarrassment.
D. No, if in moving the chair the defendant intended only a good-natured practical joke on the politician.
Incorrect: Answer choice A is correct. Intentional infliction of emotional distress is the use of extreme and outrageous conduct to intentionally or recklessly inflict severe emotional distress. While the defendant's behavior in some circumstances may not constitute extreme and outrageous conduct, it is likely that pulling out a well-known politician's chair causing him to fall in front of a large crowd he was about to address would establish that requisite element. Even if the defendant's embarrassment does not rise to the level of severe emotional distress, it is the best answer choice provided.
Sorry, but this is a terrible question. IIED? There's nothing even remotely approaching "extreme and outrageous conduct" causing "severe emotional distress." Embarrassment and severe emotional distress are not, to my mind, synonymous.
I will second your irritation. The other kind of MBE question that really irritates me is con law questions in which the issue of compelling state interest or narrow tailoring -- both of which would be briefed and argued extensively in a real case -- are perfunctorily treated as *obviously* present/absent.
Even if you analyze it as a battery (which probably makes more sense, although there's a minor issue as to whether the chair is sufficiently connected to the politician before
he sits down), you arrive at the same answer. That's how I did the problem.
I think the important point is that you're clearly in intentional tort--and not negligence--territory, based on the prompt, in which case none of the other answer choices are even coherent.
When in doubt, just think about which test each of the answer choices is a relevant part of. Answer A is part of an intentional tort framework. B points to common negligence. C points to negligent infliction of emotional distress. D is irrelevant under any test (afaik, it would be relevant only if you were dealing with a punitive damages issue, i.e. malice). All that's really involved in most of the tort problems is (1) figuring out which test to use, and (2) which answer choice(s) have a rational connection to some part of that test.
This question would be really difficult if it wasn't multiple choice. As a multiple choice, there shouldn't be any way to get it wrong. Harder questions involve situations which probe at, for example, whether the sticky issue presented by the fact pattern is duty or proximate cause in a negligence framework, where you have to make some sort of legal judgment call.
Edit: I guess, my point being, real MBE questions aren't exactly written by the sharpest legal minds, and they certainly aren't written to beat the sharpest legal minds. You don't need to explore the questions to the deepest nuances of the issues presented. You just have to be slightly more clever than the person who wrote the question (and thus three red herrings in an attempt to trick you). Outsmart them too much and you'll fuck up.