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Ask Our Lawyer - March 2006

The Jumping Lawyers of St. Clair County

A while back I tried a case for nearly all summer with a gaggle of St. Clair County lawyers. Of the two teams of lawyers defending against my client, one team had two lawyers named Bob. To distinguish between those lawyers, we called one "good" Bob and the other "bad" Bob for reasons obvious to us.

After a while, even the Judge was calling them "good Bob" and "bad Bob." These guys were tenacious scrappers on behalf of their client. Unbelievably, I got used to them and finally, with a lot work, managed to even like them. That got even easier when my client won his case [a $1,500,000.00 judgment]. (Until the Federales took it away, I had a 45/70 caliber bullet on my keychain.

When the jury came back I offered it to bad Bob in case he wanted to "bite it.") A couple of years later, I had the honor to represent Dale and Patty Duncan. Dale had been run over by a banker who had been talking on a cell phone and Dale lost his leg. You guessed it, a lawyer from St. Clair County - bad Bob's firm - was hired to defend the banker.

I thought we would most certainly be facing a long trial for Dale and Patty. Just the opposite occurred. We scheduled our case for pre-suit mediation and settled it in one day. It did not hurt that we regaled the other lawyer with many stories about "bad Bob." I think bad Bob has a new nickname at his firm. [Stay tuned for more bad Bob stories. For a $100.00 donation to your local chapter or region, I'll reveal his full name.]

Health Insurance Hell for Motorcyclists

Q: What the hell is going on? I recently got a notice from my health insurance plan that they were instituting new rules, specifically for motorcyclists. They have increased the deductible for expenses for injuries from motorcycle accidents from a standard level of $1,000.00 to an ungodly level of $20,000.00, with a maximum lifetime benefit of $40,000.00. Can they do that?

A: The question is not "can they do that," since they already have. The real question is, "can they get away with it" and "what can we do about it?" At this point, not very much. The federal statute that governs health insurance plans is called HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Although HIPAA ensures coverage for persons who participate in the listed activities, it does not ensure benefits.

The rules make this distinction even more clearly - and for motorcyclists, much worse. Under the section titled, "Source of injury restrictions," the rules provide that, "a plan can nonetheless exclude benefits for injuries because they were sustained in connection with various recreational activities if the accident did not result from any medical condition (or from domestic violence)."

Motorcycling, along with snowmobiling, all-terrain vehicle riding, horseback riding, skiing and other similar activities, are all considered recreational activities subject to benefit restrictions, even though motorcycling is the only activity that is also a mode of primary transportation.

While the MRF and other MROs worked with Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services, they were unable make any changes to the regulations. Efforts are still underway to make changes, but the only options now are to negotiate with your employer to make sure that injuries incurred while motorcycling or participating in recreational activities are covered. A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services is looking for a case with the best facts to tackle this issue in court.


A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services opens a new law office in Springfield

A.B.AT.E. Legal Services proudly announces the opening of a new law office at 1119 South 6th Street in Springfield, Illinois [just down the street from Abe Lincoln's office]. This office is open to all A.B.A.T.E. members and clients of A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services. It will come in handy if you are meeting with legislators. We are planning a grand-opening celebration in September to coincide with the "Ride Circuit With Lincoln" event.


Heartland STEAM has scheduled their 2006 meeting in Peoria, Illinois. At the urging of Doc Jones [world's best veterinarian], his partner Patsy Harrington [MRF representative] and Paula White [A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois member], A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services has become a proud sponsor. Come to the conference and get to know all of the movers and shakers for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation in the heartland of the country. As we all know, the MRF was first to have a full-time lobbyist in Washington, D.C. on behalf of all of us motorcyclists. They still need our support.

As an aside, I flew Doc, Patsy Harrington, and Gus Miller to Heartland STEAM in Nebraska last year. It was like "12:00 O'Clock High" over Berlin the whole way. Patsy is now a veteran, and Gus Miller is the best co-pilot you can ever have. Gus Miller, as you may know, is a founder of A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois and a long time auto salvage yard owner. I never met an auto salvage yard owner I didn't like. They are the original conservationists.

Paula White is a long time A.B.A.T.E. member and is the owner of a herd of Suffolk sheep. Paula and I had lots to talk about. I was the 1966 Wayne County sheep shearing champion. [I don't admit that to many people]. I won with a Suffolk and a pair of Sunbeam-100 electric shears. The guy I beat selected a Hampshire which even has wool on its eyelids. Suffolks have no wool on their head or legs [God already has them half-sheared] - so not a fair fight. He cried foul and is still walking around the county saying that "I always know'd Rod Taylor would be a lawyer someday."

P.S. In Wayne County, I had a monopoly on the sheep shearing business - $.75 a head. At a hundred head a day, I didn't think Davy Crockett could make more money than that.


As a result of my call for lawyer jokes, I received over 300. Be careful what you wish for.

This month's winner:
(selected by our panel of trained monkeys lawyers)

A lawyer walks into a bar.

He sees a good looking, smartly dressed woman perched on a bar stool. He walks up behind her and says, "Hi there good looking, how's it going?"

She turns around, faces him, looks him straight in the eye and says, "Listen, I'll screw anybody, anytime, anywhere, your place, my place, it doesn't matter. I've been doing it ever since I got out of college. I just flat out love it."

He says, "No kidding? I'm a lawyer too! What firm are you with?"


Q: What is a lawyer's ideal weight?

A: About five pounds, including the urn.

Ride Safe and Free,

Rod Taylor

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

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