Turns Out Paul Hansmeier's ADA Lawsuits Were Filed Without Knowledge Of The Plaintiffs

from the is-he-just-looking-to-pile-on-more-problems? dept

Last week, we wrote a couple times about Paul Hansmeier's new lawsuit strategy, which had some similar characteristics to ones he's had in the past: they appear to be nuisance lawsuits designed to quickly extract settlements, rather than for any legitimate legal reason. He had done this in the past, obviously, with copyright trolling, but then again with class action lawsuits. The latest round involved claimed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations, mainly arguing that various small business websites violated the ADA.

Remember, with the copyright cases, Hansmeier is now in trouble for being involved in bogus shell companies and forged signatures. With the class action objections, his clients were mostly close family members. Some of our commenters quickly speculated about whether or not the "clients" in these ADA cases were real... or, if they were, if they knew the lawsuits existed. Well, wonder no more. A local newspaper, The Mankato Free Press, has quite a story, detailing how at least one of the clients had absolutely no idea that Hansmeier was filing lawsuits on her behalf:
The plaintiff named in the Family Dentistry lawsuit is Lily Poss, a visually impaired woman from North Mankato. Poss said she supports the organization's mission statement. However, she's not sure she can support Hansmeier after learning about the tactics he's using.

Poss had no idea that lawsuit, nor another one involving a business called Bancwest Investment Services, had been filed in her name. It was her understanding she would be providing information about websites that would be used to educate businesses, she said. She said it was possible that lawsuits would be filed if businesses didn't comply, but she didn't realize Hansmeier and Class Justice would be going after small businesses such as Family Dentistry.
The article notes that Poss signed up for this after getting a call from a cousin she hadn't spoken to in years -- named Allan Mooney. You may recall that name from previous Prenda lawsuits, where it was spelled many different ways (Allan Mooney, Alan Mony, Alan Moony, etc), and who later told a reporter that he didn't know he was involved in these lawsuits. Of course, now you have to wonder about that if he's signing up his long lost cousins for the latest wacky scheme from Hansmeier to shakedown companies.

Hansmeier, quite incredibly, is claiming that he's working for the good of disabled people, tossing out this astounding line:
"We consider ourselves to be an advocacy association more than we consider ourselves a law firm," he said. "With the porn reputation, I wanted to shift my focus and focus on something more positive. We're really focused on doing it right so anyone who hears about us says, 'Yeah. This is the right way to go about it.'"
I know. Stop laughing. Of course, no one thinks this is the right way to go about it. The same reporter asked Ken Rodgers, the past president of the American Council of the Blind chapter in Minnesota, who agreed that websites that were hard for the blind to read can be a problem, but also made clear that he did not support what Hansmeier was doing at all, and, in fact, felt that it was just another way to squeeze money out of companies:
"Is he trying to make websites accessible, or is he just banking on the lawsuit revenue?" Rodgers said. "All this is doing is making the attorney wealthy, not fixing the problem. I would much rather have somebody make a business case to a business that has a website."
Furthermore, for all of Hansmseier's claims of doing "advocacy" work, when the reporter asked him to detail what advocacy organizations he's working with, he couldn't name any.

Filing a lawsuit on behalf of a client who hasn't actually agreed to be a part of that lawsuit could be a huge problem (though Hansmeier likely has bigger problems ahead on the priority list). Also, there's at least some potential that these plaintiffs may end up on the hook for attorneys' fees for the filing of bogus lawsuits.

Either way, you have to imagine that the almost certainly ongoing criminal investigation of Hansmeier's activities detailing the list of things he's done, the fact that he's continued to work on questionable schemes like this one, even after being slammed in courts all over the country for previous activities, won't reflect well on him.

Early on, I mentioned that Steele and Hansmeier really reminded me of some people I knew who were absolutely positive they were smarter than everyone else, when they really weren't. It's like they're playing chess by thinking they're the best chess players in the world because they can think one move ahead, while the people they're playing against can clearly see many moves ahead. It's astounding that they don't realize that each move they make only makes things worse and worse and worse.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    LJI, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 1:47pm

    Should be interesting...

    ...when the judges these cases are allocated to find out there aren't actually any plaintiffs. What next?

     

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  2.  
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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Nov 11th, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    What is this, a dictionary?

    I think Prenda is just picking first names that begin with the letter A and start looking for schmucks they can use for their shell companies.

    I mean, first we hear about Alan Cooper, then we meet Allan Mooney (and all its spelling variations). What's next? Allen Waters? Alan Yosef?

    It's already been well-established by now, but I'm gonna say it anyway:

    Clever, Prenda is most certainly not.

     

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  3.  
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    drew, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    This guy is going to be a freaking star in prison with his super lawyer powers.

     

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  4.  
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    PopeyeLePoteaux, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    "We consider ourselves to be an advocacy association more than we consider ourselves a law firm," he said. "With the porn reputation, I wanted to shift my focus and focus on something more positive. We're really focused on doing it right so anyone who hears about us says, 'Yeah. This is the right way to go about it.'"

    Hansmeier is either deluded/batshit crazy or lying.

    I'm running out of popcorn.

     

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  5.  
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    Miles Barnett (profile), Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:02pm

    Can we get the NSA to hire these Prenda clowns? That way we can keep all the douchebags in one place.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:03pm

    Oh Lordy,

    How I wish I had a trademark on the word "popcorn." I could retire in vast luxury just from seeking legal settlements from techdirt commentators!

    /snark

     

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  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:06pm

    And they'd have got away with it too, except for you meddling kids!

    There. Never again say I don't contribute. I expect to win funniest of week too.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

    Of course he want's to use blind people for this scheme. They can't read all the blogs that call him out on it so he figures they won't find out.

     

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  9.  
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    Trails (profile), Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    Re: And they'd have got away with it too, except for you meddling kids!

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:14pm

    Re: And they'd have got away with it too, except for you meddling kids!

    That comment was about as clever as one of Hansmeier's arguments.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:14pm

    Re: And they'd have got away with it too, except for you meddling kids!

    Stealing jokes eh blue? Have you no shame?

     

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  12.  
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    Scote, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    So it seems that Hansmeier is the actual client. He selects which websites to test. And determines who to sue based on what his defacto employees find out. Then he names the testers he recruited and pretends they are the clients.

    What is the matter with this guy? Why can't he just represent real clients for once?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

    Re:

    Real clients? Where the hell do you think he's going to find real clients? Do you honestly think anyone would actually hire or even take legal advice from this ass clown?

     

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  14.  
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    JP, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:18pm

    again.

    The plaintiff states in the local news article that mr. Mooney said she would "Compensated" greatly - then, note the lawsuit - it explicitly states they are volunteers.... Hmm.. should go over well in court on that one hansweiner!!! :D

     

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  15.  
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    S. T. Stone, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:26pm

    Good lord, Paul Hansmeier seems dedicated to giving me the biggest laughs in a given week.

     

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  16.  
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    jackn, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:27pm

    a new Plaintiff - > http://t.co/mbTpKi8ejN

     

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  17.  
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    Rabbit80 (profile), Nov 11th, 2013 @ 2:44pm

    Re: And they'd have got away with it too, except for you meddling kids!

    Fake comment - unless you forgot your timestamp / secret code?

     

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  18.  
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    88YearOldDefender (profile), Nov 11th, 2013 @ 3:07pm

    Eric Wong

    He's already been discussed on Twitter. According to what I've read, he's a real person but no one has been able to verify whether or not he's aware of the lawsuit.

    He had filed a lawsuit against the Social Security people a while back and after a long battle and an appeal he finally got his disability award. But, in terms of money, unless I read it wrong, the award was not at all what he was asking for.

    With Wong's outstanding debts (creditor has sued and won against him recently) and perhaps with the lack of a full SS award, he may be in it for the money. But the fact that Poss was characterized as a volunteer sounds more like Lutz, who also was supposed to be a volunteer.

    Maybe Poss is one of Lutz's unborn children that we've all been waiting for. If so, then we should all get together and throw him a baby shower.

     

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  19.  
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    Mark Wing, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 3:55pm

    He's just trying to do the Lord's work, but you assholes won't leave him be.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 4:06pm

    To bad Mr. Stole can't throw Hans under the bus because this is a great chance to pin everything wrong in others places on the one guy that was stupid enough to do it all again in public.

     

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  21. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 4:13pm

    out_of_the_blue and horse with no name just hate it when due process is enforced.

     

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  22.  
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    mr. sim (profile), Nov 11th, 2013 @ 4:47pm

    i wonder how long it will take the judge who he told he had "NO KNOWLEDGE" of an "Allan Mooney" finds out about he does know or is connected to an "allan mooney".

     

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  23.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 11th, 2013 @ 5:03pm

    I should file a lawsuit, they are attempting to kill me using laughter.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Eric Wong

    Don't you mean "unless I read it Wong"?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 5:41pm

    Re:

    That's a non-exclusive or.

     

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  26.  
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    Trelly, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 6:15pm

    I assume Hansmeier will argue that he himself is an American who is disabled ... by ethical and legal standards of his profession, and as such should be able to sue under the ADA.

    Or, maybe it was his bank accounts that have been disabled by Judge Wright and the various other rulings across the US, and by IRS and RICO investigations. Surely we can see how disabling that would be?!?!?!

    :p

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 6:56pm

    Any chance Hans(Grubber) there will be making an appearance on the next Die Hard sequel?

    Boy trolls are hard to kill.

     

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  28.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 11th, 2013 @ 9:22pm

    Re: And they'd have got away with it too, except for you meddling kids!

    For you to win funniest of the week, you have to be, ya know, funny...could've sworn that was obvious.

     

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  29.  
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    Anon E. Mous (profile), Nov 12th, 2013 @ 3:30am

    Does anyone wan't to take bets that Alan Mooney and John Steele sound alike on the phone?

    Remember the audio clip of John calling into GoDaddy about the account and then had called back later at some point and said he was Mark Lutz and on another occasion said he was Alan Cooper.

    So considering John did this with GoDaddy what's to say he isn't doing this with this so called Alan Mooney name.

    I have serious doubts that Hansmeier isn't doing this without Steele in the backround.

    I have to wonder if this could be why on Hansmeier's filings with the courts three of those signatures on Hansmeiers name don't look anything alike in my opinion, maybe this is why.

     

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  30.  
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    Pragmatic, Nov 12th, 2013 @ 5:56am

    Re: And they'd have got away with it too, except for you meddling kids!

    Hanna Barbera made it, they own it, Blue, you thieving pirate grifter! /snark

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2013 @ 4:41am

    Re:

    If you're running out of popcorn, then it's only proof that the RIAA were RIGHT ABOUT THE POOR CORN FARMERS ALL ALONG, YOU FILTHY PIRATE SCUM!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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