Ask Our Lawyer – September 2014

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services




As was said once, never has so much been owed by so many by so few.  Motorcycles on Meridian drew thousands of motorcyclists from most of the states and and quite a few countries.  Lined up for blocks through the heart of Indianapolis was every bike imaginable, custom, stock – you name it, it was there.  All part of the pre-celebration of one of the greatest spectacles in motorcycle racing – the Indianapolis MotoGP.  And ABATE volunteers were there to assist with gear check, bike retrieval and dishing out plain old hospitality to motorcycle racing fans who came from all over the world to participate in this event.  My hat is off to those that volunteered to make all of us bikers proud.



Thanks to Digger Phelps I have a constant reminder as to why lawyers, and particularly this lawyer should be humble. You see Digger gifted me the Great Book of Lawyer Jokes.  It is saddled on my desk within easy reach.  So every time I am tempted to get full of my lawyer self, I turned to Chapter three and roar. I roar with the intensity of a lawyer that has been found out.



  1. I just have a question.  Last Sunday, I was on the way to the hospital to see a terminally ill family member.  We were told we had very little time to see them before passing.  On my route I was caught in a what appeared to be a poker run of bikes.  I have NO problem with this but what got me was …there was no police escort and they (were) blocking traffic.  I could not get around them for about 10 miles.  Is this legal?  If so, where do I file complaints because (it) isn’t fair! I’m thankful for the good theses runs do, but I should have had the right to pass them and get to the hospital in a timely manner….thanks for your time!
  2. I understand your complaint.  All rides organized by ABATE are permitted rides and are police escorted.  In other words, they have the blessing of the powers that be.  Special consideration is given to traffic patterns to minimize the delay caused by the ride.  In your case,  had that been a legally permitted ABATE ride you would have been escorted around the ride so that you could reach the hospital with as little delay as possible.  I have written about the need to make sure all organized rides conform to the law  for safety sake and the concerns you have expressed.  We are passing on your sentiments as an example of what all of us in the motorcycle community should strive to prevent.



The Road To Paradise – Ride It Before You Die

While out in Sturgis, I had the chance to ride Yellowstone and took U.S. 14 to get there. That road was built in 1926 to get the hordes of Ford Model A’s there in good style. It goes from Chicago and follows I-90. I call it the road to paradise. If it ever had an Indian name, that has to be it.


I used to suffer under the illusion that all U.S. highways could have no more than an 8% grade. Not so! If you want a riding experience that will test your skills, ride U.S. 14 into Yellowstone. Coming from the East, cut through Sheridan, Wyoming and head to Burgess Junction. A few miles out of the Junction, you will be treated to some of the best riding and scenery God ever made as you are smack dab in the center of the Bighorn Mountains. Once you get to the top and start the down-hill slide, stop at the only rest area on the way down and take a moment to collect your skills – you will need it as old U.S. 14 gets narrower and the switchbacks get scarier. Some folks say that the Bighorn Basin was possibly the site of the greatest mammal explosion the world has ever seen. This is riding with knowledge, folks.


As you shoot into Cody on the way to Yellowstone, there are beaucoup campsites that are reasonable and fit the bill for bikers. If you like guns, take in Buffalo Bill’s Museum. And if you don’t take in the Cody rodeo, you will be sorry. People from all over the world flock to see this All-American experience. Sitting behind us were Germans, to our left – French, and to our right were a bunch of Scandinavians. The world comes to see us there as this event underscores our American image. But if anyone would have yelled “fire” few would have understood.


As you come out of the rodeo, hang a right. It takes you straight to the Yellowstone gate. What will strike you is the size of the park. It is at least 60×70 miles so calling it a “park” is misleading as it is bigger than some states. Call ahead for campsites (I was not so smart) and live in paradise. You can be just like Jim Bridger, Kit Carson and Jeremiah Johnson for at least one night.


You can’t get enough of “Old Faithful.” It is more impressive than I imagined. Some say that it is part of a super volcano that it will erupt like no other volcano has in the last few million years. When it does, they claim that ash from the volcano will go all the way to Delaware Street in Indianapolis. But don’t fret, as that is not supposed to happen for a few more million. As you leave paradise, you are joining the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and just about anybody that was somebody in the world. And they and you will say there is no other place like it. Do it and do it again, before you die.



  1. Our local ABATE organization has been successful until recently. Before, all of us got along well and made a difference in achieving ABATE’s goals. Now we have a person in a leadership role that is tearing the place apart with his bullying. At first, this individual seems like he is your friend: flattering, well-spoken and energetic. Then he turns one by one on his “friends” by dividing and conquering us, seemingly to get his own way. He is a master manipulator. He spreads falsehoods about those he wants to get rid of (usually those who disagree with him). Many have quit because of his “bullying.” He spreads falsehoods and when upset sets off a flurry of emails cutting his target. As volunteers, there is just so much stuff most of us are willing to take. I am concerned for our organization. To make matters worse, there are some financial irregularities that he has created. What can we do? I know there are legal remedies for libel and slander, and he can be prosecuted for theft if that is the case, but that is not the direction we want to go. Help!

– ABATE member


  1. Sounds like you may be dealing with a person who the medical professionals say is afflicted with a personality disorder. The American Psychiatric Association lists ten types (see DSM-IV-12).These types flock to not-for-profit organizations like ABATE. They are confusing and misleading in that they are usually very talented, but you should not ignore the serious disruptive effects that they can cause in your Chapter. Impulsive behavior, wild emotions and calculated divisiveness contribute to discord and disunity of our ABATE organizations. Disruptions by this kind of personality can be very confusing, especially in a volunteer organization.


Daily contact in not-for-profits is usually infrequent, which makes catching on to and stopping them especially difficult. Persons with this disorder usually get to where they are – by conning those above them and exploiting those below them. They usually don’t give a damn about anybody. Their by-line is “I don’t give a f____.” This disorder is usually signaled by a history of unstable relationships outside the family and abusive relationships within the family. Usually the person has a checkered employment past as they do not make good traditional employees. Almost always the person that suffers from this type of disorder goes from treating his targets as best friends to declaring them hated enemies, bewildering and confusing those that work with the affected person.


Accompanying these types of symptoms are always extreme angry reactions and impulsiveness. Misappropriation, fiddling with the books, fiddling with expenses, pilfering, embezzlement, fraud, deception, awarding benefits to family and accusing others of doing the same are also common indicators of the bullying personality disorder.


ABATE should be on the look-out for this type of person when they join our organization. After all, we provide the perfect breeding ground where this personality type can create self-promoting turmoil. It is difficult to catch on to their ways when there is no daily contact and as such, they can comfortably ply their manipulative techniques. Usually, in the normal business situation, management catches on and the situation dies a natural death with firing. But what do we do in not-for-profit organizations like ABATE, with the person who has managed to hang on and continues to wreak havoc in the organization?


Here are some of the non-legal recommendations that I have passed on to others dealing with this issue.


  1. Unfortunately, we are a volunteer organization, so it is tough to fire these types. If you can, you should. We are not in the mental health treatment business. Since we cannot fire, I recommend that you educate yourself and the organization as to “personality disorder” symptoms. Your description of the person touches on the classic characteristics of that disorder, so be familiar with the usual pattern of conduct that these afflicted persons exhibit. Share your knowledge with others. In recent years, many business organizations have had to develop plans to deal with this personality type. By educating your organization, everyone will have been clued into what is going on and the techniques used by this person. That takes the fun out of it for the afflicted trouble maker. Once the news is out and exposed, it is highly likely the person will leave, taking the problem along with them.
  2. Another method is to try the straight-on approach. Control and security issues drive the person afflicted with these issues, so meet with the person and review honestly his concerns. Compliment his work where warranted. You should have others with you for these meetings. Keep it positive. If the person is salvageable, keep him with the strings you attach. If not, get rid of him ASAP. He is poisoning your ABATE well. If you cannot get rid of him, at the very least separate and assign him projects that lessen his involvement with others. Have him report to a “committee” so he cannot turn on an individual. Never let this type of person handle money for ABATE. Almost always, they steal.
  3. If the “bully” does not get the hint, confrontation may be in order. Typically, the disordered person leaves a trail of inconsistent emails, false allegations/conversations, inflammatory accusations, bad books and puzzling math. Keep records and make “book” so that you can back up what you say. When the “bully” realizes that his methods are known, the fun runs out of his approach and the problem goes away when you have done a “HIGH NOON” on him.

Good luck.



No, we haven’t done away with the program that gets our roadways fixed, we’ve simply become national!  In the last month alone, we’ve reported road hazards in Washington D.C., Florida, Texas and Hawaii.  Hawaii!?  Do they even have streets??  Keep those reports coming in, the life you save may be your own.

Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

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