Paul Hansmeier: Those Class Action Cases Are About Correcting Injustice
from the suuuuuuure dept
We recently covered the fact that a number of the Team Prenda Players were also involved in somewhat questionable class action objection lawsuits, mostly led by Paul Hansmeier, representing close family members and employees objecting to class action settlements (but apparently willing to “go away” for a fee). While we believe that many class action settlements are, in fact, questionable, the actions by Hansmeier and others in the various objections that were covered seem equally questionable, often appearing to basically jump in at the last minute to throw a wrench into the settlement works, then be willing to walk away for some amount of money.
Joe Mullin at Ars Technica scored an interview with Hansmeier, in which he repeatedly refused to discuss the copyright lawsuits and Prenda (or anyone associated with them), but did try to defend the class action stuff, arguing that it’s really done to correct injustices. In fact, when confronted with the note he sent a lawyer representing the class, offering to go away for $30,000, Hansmeier tried to spin it as having little to do with the money and being all about fixing those injustices.
If someone offered you $30,000 to go away from a case, I’m pretty sure you would take that money and go live to fight another day. We are motivated to correct injustices in the case. What we’re trying to address is the structure of the settlement. In another case, we did successfully encourage the judge to modify the case, although slightly. If [a settlement] gives money to a charitable organization that has nothing to do with the needs of the class—that’s something you can fight.
He also claims that the reason he’s representing family members and employees is because that’s what all lawyers do to establish themselves… or something like that.
Look, I’m not going to walk up to some guy on the street and say, “Do you have some kind of class action objection issue?” You start with people in your inner circle and expand outward. That’s how you start any business, including a law practice.
That’s one way of looking at it. I know a bunch of lawyers who have started independent shops as well, and I can’t think of any who have represented family members. They may have gotten early referrals from friends, but that’s about it.
And then the interview descends into “I’m not going to comment on that” over and over again as Mullin asks about the copyright cases, whether or not he’s intending to show up in Wright’s court, and even how he came to know John Steele.