Ask Our Lawyer – July 2019

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services


Last month I wrote about ABATE Member Deanna Smith-Whittaker who received a bogus subpoena from the government trying to pull a fast one.  That ABATE member sent me this.  “So glad ABATE has you to help us out.  Thank you again for helping me!!!! PEO TAZ Chapter.  And I love article.” Deanna

After ABATE printed the article advising Deanna that the subpoena served on her by the government was ineffective, that office quickly withdrew its ineffective subpoena. (see the language of its letter below) That subpoena served no purpose as it was only good for 100 miles from downtown NYC – a long way from Peoria Il. And the government knew that when it sent it.  Ev Dirkson said it best, “if it won’t play in Peoria, it won’t play”.

Dear Mrs. Deanna Smith-Whitaker,

By this letter, the United States hereby withdraws the subpoena for your trial testimony in United States v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation that was previously served upon you.  To be clear, you are no longer under any obligation to testify, and should not report to the United States Courthouse on May 20, 2019.


Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.



United States Attorney


  1. Rod, I have a legal question. I am a leader of a motorcycle group at our church. Am I liable for the others safety and well-being on a group ride? – Barry Hines


  1. Barry. I have written extensively about this issue in our ABATE publications. If you are the organizer, get insurance and use my waivers. Check with your home insurer to see if you have coverage for the ride as you are a volunteer. Also, check with the church as to its insurance coverage for charity events off premises. If you or the church do not have insurance, then it is a matter of, how lucky do you feel?

At the very least, have only one rule for those on the ride – follow the state’s rules of the road and all laws relating to motorcycles.  Resist the temptation to become a ride expert and add extra rules of your making as the law will hold you to it if you screw it up.  And by all means use my waivers.

To protect yourself and the church, think about starting a non-profit to shoulder any potential liability that might come from the ride event. That entity could shield the church and organizers from personal liability.  Our office can assist you with that.

Always remember this:  You don’t need a waiver until you need a waiver.

Ride safe. Rod

  1. Rodney, Thank you for the response. That is what I was afraid of, and yes, I will follow up on your suggestions.
  2. PS from Rod – only my mother called me Rodney.



Perfect weather, wonderful volunteers and good-hearted bikers is all it took to make for a fabulous ride.

They were all there: radio talk show host Tom of Bob & Tom, Jay Jackson of ABATE of Indiana, Dennis Byron State Coordinator of ABATE of Illinois, and thousands of others. They all came together to support Riley Hospital for Children. Riley provides care for kids from all over the country and, in many instances, the world.  The hospital sets the bar for research on diseases that uniquely affect children. That Riley is located in the heart of the country is poetic, and says something wonderful about us mid-westerners. Many of you have heard me say that the measure of a society is how those in it – treat their children. By that definition, heartland citizens go to the head of the line.

The Ride would not be possible without scores of volunteers. I will highlight some, recognizing that many others need acknowledgment and I will catch up with the missed ones later. At the head of the list is Gino Johnson. Gino, the world’s best CPA and former IRS agent, keeps us all honest and straight as our money counter-in-chief. We could not do it without him. Kathy Schulteti and her whole wonderful family and South-Side Harley employees have been there from the beginning. Marc Falsetti, our advertising guru, gets thousands to participate every year. I am not sure how he does it, but he does.  John Barto feeds us and feeds us well. The McAtees, first family of law enforcement, do the impossible and lead 4-6,000 bikers through numerous intersections safely.  And ABATE LEGAL is very proud that the planning for this ride started in our office in 1993.  I knew this year would be good when Ann and I rode in and saw the Allison Transmission lot nearly full, so early.  Celebration was the mood and ABATE LEGAL once again served “Long’s” famous donuts and coffee – free.  In years past we have had donuts left over – not this year.  Brian ran out an hour before the Ride started.  But we’ll have that fixed for next year, so come join us on the 27th annual Miracle Ride, May 31, 2020 – same time – same place.



Uninsured/Underinsured motorcyclist coverage – how does it work?  The perfect explanation – I hope.

If the guy that runs over you HAS NO liability insurance, then the uninsured coverage under YOUR policy kicks in to cover your hospital bills, pain and suffering and other losses to the extent of the limits in your policy – THAT IS IF YOU BOUGHT UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE.  SHAME ON YOU IF YOU DIDN’T.  AND GET THE HIGHEST LIABILITY LIMITS YOU CAN – as you will need them if you get hit by a Mack truck on your motorcycle.  (some states limit Um/UIM to be no higher than the liability limits of your policy)

If the other guy that runs over you has minimal limits (some state’s limits are stupid low) and your losses exceed those limits, the underinsured part of your insurance policy takes over and covers the losses above the bad guys minimal limits up to the underinsured limits of your policy.  And get the highest limits you can for this coverage – your family may need it.

At the risk of sounding redundant here is an example:  a biker is riding when a driver turns in front of him.  The biker suffers a fractured leg and a head injury from the crash.  He is air-lifted to the nearest hospital.  The driver of the automobile has minimal insurance.   As a result the biker is unable to work for several months.   The injured biker may be stuck with huge medical bills as a result if he does not have adequate health insurance.  We will talk about the other losses later..

That is where the biker’s underinsured coverage kicks in.  The few extra dollars a month for your higher uninsured/underinsured coverage (get the highest level you can afford), are a small drop in the bucket when talking about a couple hundred thousand dollars you may owe in medical bills, if you don’t have health insurance.  Even then you need it for your lost wages, pain, suffering and other losses.

Some estimate that over 25% of motorists on the road are without insurance – uninsured.  That means they usually have nothing to help pay your losses – zip, zero.   Folks that don’t have insurance usually don’t have money; that is the reason they don’t have insurance, so the no- blood- from-turnip-rule applies.  That means that if you have no uninsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle, you are out of luck!

And just because the bad guy says he has insurance does not mean he really has insurance.  I remember a case where the adverse driver told a Member (who had lost a leg), “I have insurance”.  She had 25k which complied with the law.  Some states allow you to drive with only 10k of liability insurance.  MY FRIENDS AND FELLOW RIDERS – THAT IS NOT INSURANCE, even though the law calls it insurance.  So the rule is – make sure you have as much underinsured insurance coverage you can for the other guy, just in case he only carries 10k.  Understood?!

Ride Safe & Free,


Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery motorcycle crash cases, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery.  In those cases, ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to their motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to:  © 2019.

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