After 16 years, OOIDA member's suit against Louisiana fines is settled

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 2/12/2016

With New Orleans Mardi Gras parades and swashbucklers away only blocks from his office, one could forgive attorney Madro Bandaries for being distracted this week.

Even as streets teemed with Fat Tuesday revelers, Bandaries enjoyed a long-coming win for truckers from the comfort of his quiet law office.

After a fairness hearing in early February, it was confirmed that OOIDA Member Gary Ring will receive his part of a lawsuit settlement with the State of Louisiana.

“I’m 70 years old, semi-retired and thought it might end badly,” Bandaries told Land Line Thursday. “I thought it might end after I died.”

In March 2000, Ring was pulled over after a state trooper said he passed scales without pulling over. Ring, from Illinois, was given a choice: Pay $2,000 on the spot or surrender his load to the state.

Nearly 16 years later, the State of Louisiana is paying $250,000 to settle the case.

As the case progressed, attorneys joined on, were kicked off, and at least one died, Bandaries said. Still, even with the case appearing before the state Supreme Court and the Louisiana Court of Appeals three times each, Ring and Bandaries never let up.

“There was no due process in the law, something obvious on its face,” Bandaries said. “The state obviously did what they did for revenue purposes.”

Louisiana passed two measures to ensure on-the-spot fine payment demands don’t happen again for out-of-state commercial vehicle drivers.

As part of the settlement, the state of Louisiana is paying $5,000 to the OOIDA Foundation. Bandaries said that part of the settlement recognizes the work OOIDA and Land Line did to publicize and fight the case.

Credit, he said, should be given most to Gary Ring.

“Truckers owe Gary Ring a thanks,” Bandaries said. “He is one of the best examples of what this country used to stand for – right and wrong. Gary would not and did not take ‘no’ for an answer. He realized it was just wrong for the State of Louisiana to pull truckers over and take $2,000 from them without a hearing.”

“Gary is an example of what we all should strive to be,” he said.

According to a 2001 Land Line article by Staff Editor Rene Tankersley, an attorney researching the fine process estimated the state was bringing in $10 million annually in revenue through the fine without a hearing process for about 10 years. Tankersley was the reporter who first talked to Gary Ring and reported his story. She then followed the case relentlessly and became a supporter of Ring’s cause.

Tankersley died in a car crash in 2004 on the way to work at OOIDA in Grain Valley, Mo.

“I wish Rene was around for this,” Ring said on Friday. “She really worked so hard on this with me. We did get something done and got some laws changed.”

Ring would like for the court-approved donation to OOIDA to be in her name.

For additional information on Ring’s case against Louisiana fine procedures, click here, here and here.

Editor-in-Chief Sandi Soendker contributed to this article.

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