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Ask Our Lawyer - April 2007


How to Get Your Stuff Back from the Ex.

Q:My girlfriend and I broke up after 6 months. She owns the real estate where we lived and on which I conducted my hauling and construction business. She has locked my semi-trailer and construction equipment where I can not get to it without trespassing on the real estate - and she also has my bass boat. I need this equipment to continue my business. What can I do without taking all the time and expense that the lawyers and court system might require?

A:First, call my good friend Al Putman, the best Bail Bondsman in America and a great A.B.A.T.E. member. He knows a repossession specialist that can help you. He will contact a local Deputy Sheriff who will accompany him to ensure that no disturbance of the peace will occur. Arm him with evidence of title and that should take care of all matters involving the titled vehicles. As to the small tools which are locked inside the building- those could be a big problem to get quickly. Be prepared to show any receipts you have kept or photos that clearly show ownership prior to your relationship with your ex. I will write a letter for you advising this young lady that you are entitled to damages for your loss of use of the tools for wrongfully withholding them from you, and punitive damages for withholding a guy's bass boat. That's at least immoral and ought to be unconstitutional, or something.

P.S. At this writing, the semi-trailer is on the way back to its owner - other stuff to follow


Even though the Social Security regulations on eligibility for disability payments cover thousands of pages, we can reduce them to these simple rules/questions:

  1. Do we meet guidelines for a defined impairment? If so, go to the next rule.

  2. Are we working? If so, do we meet the definition of "substantial gainful activity?" Even if we are forcing ourselves and injuring our health even more - tough bananas if we earn more than around 8k per year [that amount goes up every year.] Even if you are not doing the work and have an employer who wants to keep you on for old times' sake, and even if you and your work are worthless - you are not eligible. This is decision time. To quit or not to quit is the question - for health's sake.

  3. Did we pay enough money into Soc. Sec.?? The S.S. folks look at payments by you for a period of years. Remember for every dollar you put in, your employer puts in a dollar. All that money is sent to the Federales in Baltimore Md., where they keep it in a big bag until they decide who gets it. Guess how much the Government puts in? Zero - that's right, zero.
    This money is put in by you and your employer - only. Look at the pay stub portion that talks about FICA. There is no line for contributions by anyone else but you and your work effort - so much for the argument that this payment is a welfare payment.

  4. Are we impaired and meet a listing? You should not walk but run to the nearest rehabilitation specialists that can help you sort through all the regulations defining impairment and whether you meet a defined listing. We know the best ones.

  5. Can you do anything else? For those of us that have reached 50 we get off the hook a little on the retraining requirement. I think the theory is we will be dead by the time we get retrained, so why not let up on the over-50 crowd. Remember, in the meantime, they are holding your money in that bag in Baltimore.

The good news is after 2 years on disability, you get Medicare, the bad news is that you will wait 13 months to get on disability - even if you started today. So what do you do for that time period. Congress forgot to answer that one for you.

p.s. In a future article, we will cover how to avoid being labeled a sandbagger by the Federales, and other helpful rules of S.S. experience.


Jeff Hennie reports from DC:

Jeff Hennie, VP of Government Relations for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation reports "The perception that the Democrats would change the way things got done is just that, a perception. In my opinion Roger Daltry and the rest of the mega rockers from The Who said best, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." "

On the positive side, Jeff received some promising news about the HIPAA loophole fix legislation. Legislation to close the loophole that currently exists in our nation's health insurance industry has been introduced in the US Senate (S 616) and House (HR 1076).

Under current law, group market insurance customers - that's everyone who has insurance from a job in the private sector, military or government - can be denied benefits for a particular injury just because it came from a motorcycle accident.

Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996 to ensure proper access to health insurance for all American workers. Once the bureaucrats at the US Department of Health and Human Services issued their final ruling on the law they managed to allow a loophole that can be used to discriminate against motorcyclists when they need health insurance the most, after an accident. The loophole also is used by insurance companies to deny benefits for any accidents that stem from horseback riding, snowmobiling, and snow skiing, just to name a few.

In order to pass this legislation, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation needs your help. Please join your fellow freedom fighters and ask your Members of Congress and Senators to co-sponsor this important legislation. Ask your federal Representative to support HR 1076 and your two US Senators to support S 616. Should you receive any commitments or denials to support the legislation, or if you have any other legislative question or concerns, please contact Jeff Hennie at the MRF.

Also, Jeff notes that the SMRO visits have officially begun. ABATE of Michigan was in town last week for a full week of meetings with the entire MI delegation. Jeff has heard from IA, WI, IL, Washington State, NC, OH, PA and CO. Jeff noted that "If you aren't on that list, ask yourself why not, and then find a few days and few people and come walk the halls of Congress with me. It doesn't take a team of 10 or even 5, just a few individuals can make a world of difference."


Did you know legislation has been introduced to seek an increase in penalties for those convicted of or pleading guilty to a certain right-of-way violation that results in injury, serious injury, or death? House Bill 1205 was referred to committee, but did not make it out of committee this year. Mike Siler promises to try again next session.


The American Recreation Coalition, of which the American Motorcyclist Association is a member, along with the National Forest Foundation (in conjunction with the US Forest Service, among other agencies) is sponsoring a series of regional forums to solicit ideas and concerns regarding public objectives for recreational opportunities. Regional forums will be held in five cities: Golden, Colorado; Marietta, Georgia; Los Angeles, California; Portland, Oregon and Chicago, Illinois. All this activity will culminate in a National Forum to be held in Washington, D. C. in April.

All forms of recreation will be invited to share their concerns and aspirations relating to outdoor recreation. This is a good opportunity for the recreation community to let a wider community know the importance of maintaining access to public lands for horse back riding, OHVs, snowmobiles, powerboats, and other forms of recreation. If you would like to learn more about the forums, please go to www.funoutdoors.com/recreationforums.

Ride Safe and Free,

Rod Taylor

A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services

Remember, injured A.B.A.T.E. members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery and expenses as approved by client, consistent with and conforming to applicable state law. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ?%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. And, A.B.A.T.E. members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number.

If you have any questions you would like to ask the lawyer, please submit them to: Ask Our Lawyer, P.O. Box 2850, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206_2850, or email rodtaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2005, A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services