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.
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Filed Under: class action, copyright trolling, john steele, paul hansmeier
Companies: prenda, prenda law


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2013 @ 12:16am

    Prenda is not some consumer advocate group that's for sure.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2013 @ 12:17am

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't representing a family member usually considered a conflict of interest?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2013 @ 12:22am

      Re:

      It is a conflict of interest. Anyways this person is certainly not "correcting injustices". Groups like the EFF are trying to do that.

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

    • icon
      G Thompson (profile), 2 Apr 2013 @ 2:04am

      Re:

      Absolute conflict of interest, highly unethical and full of bias.

      You do not represent close family members unless absolutely egregiously necessary until at such time you can secure them other counsel that they agree too, and even then you should only act in an advisory capacity and not as counsel.

      Same as representing close friends, its fraught with dangers not the least being that you could be called as a witness due to your friendship dependant on the case and if character is being brought into a case.

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

  • icon
    Rikuo (profile), 2 Apr 2013 @ 12:20am

    Is this article complete? Try reading the last paragraph: when I do, I get the feeling that a bit more got left out, it doesn't read the same as the conclusion to any other article here on Techdirt.

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

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 2 Apr 2013 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      Try reading the last paragraph: when I do, I get the feeling that a bit more got left out, it doesn't read the same as the conclusion to any other article here on Techdirt.

      I believe the last paragraph was more of a P.S. then anything else. The original Ars Technica interview ended as abruptly, as Mullen kept asking the pointed questions Hansmeier had no intention of answering.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2013 @ 12:51am

    "We are motivated to correct injustices in the case."

    Of course, what he really means is "commit", not "correct".

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

  • identicon
    Aaron, 2 Apr 2013 @ 1:04am

    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.


    That's remarkable. He sends a letter demanding $30,000 and then spins it as being offered $30,000 to retreat from the case. Oh, to have a mind like his!

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

  • identicon
    Coen Bosun, 2 Apr 2013 @ 1:45am

    yes, but is there data behind 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.

    I'm sure that's true. But does that have anything to do with whether any of your bunch of lawyers have represented family members? It seems unlikely that your bunch of lawyers routinely give you a list of their representees, or do you make a habit of asking them about their families and the history of their legal practice? Otherwise you're just offering opinion wrapped up in rhetoric dressed up as data.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2013 @ 6:19am

      Re: yes, but is there data behind it? part two

      "It seems unlikely that your bunch of lawyers routinely give you a list of their representees,"

      But its OK that you do the same thing?

      You're just offering opinion wrapped up in rhetoric dressed up as data.

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

  • icon
    G Thompson (profile), 2 Apr 2013 @ 2:12am

    Hmmmm so to fight a perceived injustice in class action lawsuits for a not so hypothetical example it seems based on the legal jurisprudence and ethics of Paul Hansmeier you should just use another form of injustice like extortion, harassment, and duress instead.

    How awesome is that hey?

    It seems in Paul's mind two injustices must make a right.. He's only thinking about the charities no less!

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

  • icon
    G Thompson (profile), 2 Apr 2013 @ 2:24am

    These PDF's found whilst laughing at the comments directed at Paul (and other prenda idiots) in the ARS article are PURE GOLD!

    A good old fashioned Bench slappin flyer [pdf] - Print out, amuse your friends, invite everyone

    The troll map of who's doing what to whom - if you're not confused you haven't been paying attention.

    all credit goes to John Henry Lawyer Esq. a legend---wait for it ---dary gentleman

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2013 @ 4:01am

    Those Class Action Cases Are About Correcting Injustice

    The injustice being that the Prenda lawyers are not yet rich enough.

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

  • identicon
    Beech, 2 Apr 2013 @ 4:08am

    "The injustice is that there's a lot of money flying around and none of it is coming my way!"

    -Paul Douchemier

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

  • icon
    Trails (profile), 2 Apr 2013 @ 7:26am

    Off Topic, But

    I just wanted to thank Techdirt for not posting any stupid April's First joke posts. Slashdot was bloody annoying yesterday, it's nice to be here.

    So, to Masnick et. al.: Thank you.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2013 @ 8:40am

    In one sentence, say you'll walk away if offered money (actually, you demanded it, but whatever)
    and in the very next claim it's all about fighting injustice

    uhhhhhh

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


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