Answer For MBE Question From October 29th

(D) is correct.

Issue: Whether the factory breached a duty of care to the bed and breakfast.

Rule: Generally,  every  person  owes  and  is  owed  a  duty  to  behave  as  a  reasonable  person would under  the  same  or  similar  circumstances. Negligence  occurs  when  the following  elements  are  established:  (1)  duty  of  care;  (2)  breach;  (3)  damages;  and  (4)  actual  and  proximate  causation.  Under  tort  law,  an  injured  party  must  also  act reasonably  to  minimize  (mitigate)  loss  or  injury.  Where the damages are unnecessarily aggravated or increased through plaintiff’s failure to do so, the additional damages are not recoverable. While  plaintiff  has  the  burden  of  proving  damages,  defendant  has  the  burden to  prove  plaintiff’s  failure  to  mitigate  damages. Factors considered in determining the reasonableness of plaintiff’s failure to mitigate damages include: the risk involved in the mitigating  conduct;  the  probability  of  success;  the  pain  and  effort  involved,  and  whether  plaintiff  could  financially  afford  the course of action. Note  that although most avoidable  consequences  cases  involve  plaintiff’s  unreasonable  conduct  after  an  accident,  the    issue  also  may  arise where plaintiff acted unreasonably prior to an accident or event.

Analysis: Here,  apply  the  elements  of  negligence  to  determine  whether  the  factory  acted unreasonably. The  issue  here  is  whether  the  factory  breached  a  duty  to  the  bed  and  breakfast  by  acting unreasonably.  The facts do not indicate that the factory acted unreasonably. Remember that the  standard  is  whether  the  factory’s  conduct  met  the  standard  set by  a  reasonable  factory  under  similar circumstances and the facts here specifically state that other factories do not typically install the odor-reducing equipment. Thus, it seems unlikely that the factory would be found to have acted unreasonably  (though the  cost  of  purchasing  and  installing  the  equipment  would  be  relevant  to determining whether an injunction should be issued in a nuisance action).

(D) is correct. The plant did not act negligently as it acted in accordance with industry standards and thus acted reasonably under the circumstances.

(A) is  incorrect because whether  or  not  plaintiff’s  failed  to  mitigate  goes  to  how  much  plaintiff  can recover, not whether plaintiff can recover.

(B) is incorrect because the issue is not whether equipment would have reduced the damages, but whether  it  was  unreasonable  under  the  circumstances  (and  given  the  standard  set  by  other  “reasonable” factories) to not install the equipment.

(C) is incorrect because nuisance is a separate action from negligence.  It may be that the factory is a nuisance for which the bed and breakfast may receive monetary damages or an injunction, but this does not mean that the factory acted negligently.

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