Paul Hansmeier Dismisses Case That His 'Client' Claims Was Filed Without Her Permission

from the about-time dept

So, remember how Paul Hansmeier's latest scheme has been to file a bunch of cases against small businesses, claiming their websites violated the Americans with Disabilities Act? The same lawyer who is getting slammed by courts all over the country for his shady copyright trolling practices appeared to be up to a new form of trolling -- a view that was strongly supported when one of the plaintiffs in one of these ADA cases, Lily Poss, claimed that she had "no idea" that Hansmeier was filing lawsuits on her behalf. That's a major no-no by a lawyer already very deep in trouble. And it took all of about a day for Hansmeier to file to dismiss the case in which he "represented" Poss -- though he did so "without prejudice," meaning that the case could potentially be refiled again in the future.

Update: And... another one's gone too.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Rikuo (profile), Nov 13th, 2013 @ 11:28am

    Wait wait wait? The lawyer dismissed the case? Did the court ask Hansmeier if this was what his 'client' had agreed to? So, did the court get formal notice of Lily Poss's claims of ignorance, and if so, why allow Hansmeier to just essentially walk away?

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

  2. icon
    Todd Knarr (profile), Nov 13th, 2013 @ 4:19pm


    Generally the plaintiff (or the plaintiff's attorney, as here) can ask to have the case dismissed and pretty much get it automatically up until the point where the defendant files a response of any sort. This is one of those cases where the judge really should exercise their discretion and refuse to dismiss the case until the question of exactly who Hansmeier is representing before the court is settled. But it's up to the judge whether he does or not.

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

  3. icon
    WDS (profile), Nov 13th, 2013 @ 4:40pm

    Second Case

    The second case was dismissed with prejudice. I hope that doesn't mean that there was any kind of settlement, with cash flowing toward Hans.

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

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

    Re: Re:

    ... and the defendant can still file a counter claim?
    At least for a few billable hours

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

  5. icon
    88YearOldDefender (profile), Nov 13th, 2013 @ 5:16pm

    The one thing about the evolution of the Hans saga that really stands out is that there really is no where for him to go without being caught. It's utterly amazing how quickly this was spotted, and how soon he dismissed the cases. Didn't the catching, the outing and the dismissing all happen in the course of a couple of days? I would say we need a round of applause.

    It's like he pops his head out of the sewer for a brief moment, gets caught, then has to go back down into the sewage until he comes up with another creative reason to sue someone.

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

  6. identicon
    BlueBlueDog, Nov 13th, 2013 @ 5:49pm

    I'd love to see a breakdown on Bar rules/legal violations of a lawyer filing lawsuits without the knowledge or consent of a plaintiff.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2013 @ 7:59pm

    Feel free to file on my behalf as long as you send me all the money of course.

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

  8. icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), Nov 13th, 2013 @ 8:34pm

    Hansmeier dismissed these due to the fact that this lady had no idea she was involved in a lawsuit (now doesn't that seem familiar...hello, calling Allen Cooper).

    I am sure any defense lawyer worth his money would have fact checked Hansmeier's so called "client" and then realized who Hansmeier was and I am sure they would have mentioned Prenda Law to the Judge and that would have been game over right there.

    Never mind the fact that Flint Million one was suspicious enough to raise people to want to look at Hansmeiers filing.
    I have doubts that Hansmeier is doing this alone I am sure Steele is involved as well.

    Considering there porn trolling days are dead in the water, and how addicted they are to getting easy cash through settlements, I see them both neck deep involved in the next thing to keep the gravy train rolling.

    I highly doubt that Hansmeier thought that his ADA lawsuits would make the media but now that they have and his claasjustice firm has had the light shone on it, I would be of the opinion he is going to have a tough time in the ADA lawsuit game.

    I wonder how long it will be till Mark Lutz or Paul's pet cat starts being named as clients he will be suing on behalf of.

    Same with the Allen Mooney connection, does anyone believe that it was really Allen Mooney on the line talking to Lily Poss or are some of us wondering if that isn't John Steele doing some calling like he did with GoDaddy.

    I have to wonder if Paul is taking the old Prenda strategy to heart, that if you can';t find a client you just manufacture one to suit your needs.

    Sure seem like this is what occurred, Hansmeier got scared enough to dismiss these suits before a judge or defense counsel brought it to the courts attention

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

  9. identicon
    Stevo, Nov 13th, 2013 @ 9:14pm

    Contacting Plaintiffs

    Wondering given this lawyer and related parties past behavior representing unknowing plaintiffs (to include Cooper); if a defense lawyer receiving a lawsuit would be obligated to contact this particular lawyer or if he could reasonably go around the lawyer contacting plaintiff party directly just to verify initially if this plaintiff is even aware they are named a plaintiff in a case and if they filed the case?

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

  10. icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 13th, 2013 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Contacting Plaintiffs

    Can they? I honestly don't know, but instinct would tell me that a defense lawyer cannot contact the plaintiff without going threw the plaintiff's lawyer.

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

  11. icon
    renosablast (profile), Nov 13th, 2013 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: Contacting Plaintiffs

    Defense counsel certainly has the right to depose the plaintiff. Proof of identity at the deposition would likely be insisited on. Simply requesting to depose
    Hansmeier's plaintiff could also have immediately blown it up in Paul's face.

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

  12. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 13th, 2013 @ 11:56pm

    Re: Contacting Plaintiffs

    Unless it is part of the proceedings, it is a BIG nono for opposing counsel to speak to a represented party (even if they don't know they have representation - See Evan Stone sinking his career.)
    Submitting the news article to the court however is allowed, and the Judge would be so very happy about that detail.

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

  13. identicon
    haiku, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 12:00am

    In most other countries Hansmeier would have been disbarred, if not jailed.

    I'm amazed that the US legal system allows these on-going shenanigans

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

  14. identicon
    mcinsand, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:15am

    our system is terribly slow in catching bad actors

    I agree that Hansmeier has gotten away with far too much abuse of the legal system. Sadly, our system goes beyond just presuming innocence when it comes to attorneys; in the US, the courts practically give themselves whiplash in looking the other way when someone like this comes into (mal)practice. However, when someone like Hans has left so many messes that there is nowhere to look without seeing what he's done, the courts eventually have to actually live up to their responsibilities in watching over court officers.

    At this point, Hans' time in being able to play lawyer is limited. He has too much attention from too many offices to keep his ability to practice for much longer. So, he's getting more and more desperate to find victims to fleece, possibly to help with money to live in a country that does not extradite. If he had been willing to work, he could have found legitimate ADA or copyright cases to pursue, but he would have had to have upheld his responsibilities in providing answers that courts require, making sure that he had an actual plaintiff, and making sure that he actually had good evidence of a basis to file the suit.

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 3:58am

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

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 4:33am


    That will likely happen. I takes a long time and a lot of work to get a license to practice law and for good reason it takes a lot of impropriety to lose a law license. For instance, Judge Wright waited a really long time allowing these asshats to seem to get away with a bunch of crap collecting it all as evidence to be used against them all the while before he finally dropped the hammer on them. When that happens the collective weight of it all will be so monumental that they couldn't possibly dig their way out from under the avalanche. For now they are simply adding to the pile.

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

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 4:37am

    Re: our system is terribly slow in catching bad actors

    He has so damaged his reputation that I doubt very seriously that any legit plaintiff would even consider having him represent them.

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

  18. identicon
    I Forgot, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 5:21am


    There must be a mixed bag of lawyers watching this go on. Some are cheering for him and others using this as a testing of waters of sorts, to see exactly what a lawyer can get away with and others maybe disgusted with what someone is doing with their chosen profession.

    In any event, I hate what he is doing.

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2013 @ 5:34am


    ..or at the very least, taken out into the courtyard, where real lessons are learned.

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

  20. identicon
    alternatives(), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 6:10am

    Check to see if Barratry exists

    Most of the time old laws exist on the shelf, even if they are never enforced.

    So go look up Barratry

    Then use this frame: Litigation is typically classified as vexatious when an attorney or a pro se litigant (a person representing himself without an attorney) repeatedly files groundless lawsuits and repeatedly loses. Under the Common Law, the frequent incitement of lawsuits by an attorney constituted the crime of Barratry. In modern law, however, barratry is viewed as an archaic crime and is rarely enforced. Attorneys who encourage vexatious litigation are subject to discipline for violating rules of professional conduct and may be suspended from the Practice of Law or disbarred.

    Many States have something on the books that let you bypass the Cops and go to the DA or ANY Judge/Magistrate and let you file criminal charges. Then the official who got that document is supposed to take that to a Grand Jury for a True Bill/No Bill typically. Where this gets FUN is one can use the lack of action as part of the election campaign the next time...hows that gonna look when they didn't do the job they are supposed to do.

    (Spend time listening to the ruleoflawradio podcast. Get to here others doing exactly this stuff to effect change)

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

  21. icon
    Eminn (profile), Nov 14th, 2013 @ 6:46am

    Hansmeier shows yet again he is just not a big picture person

    One of the reasons the whole porn copyright thing appeals to a certain type of lawyer is that they believe that people are more likely to settle those kinds of lawsuit threats because they don't want their name associated with porn. What those lawyers fail to grasp is that THEIR name will forever be associated with porn. It doesn't matter what kind of arguments he comes up with about how he is in the right, the Hansmeier name and 'porn' are now forever inextricably linked (I bet his attorney father LOVES that!). That's the big picture he failed to see (or saw it but didn't understand he couldn't argue his way out of it).

    And now it is biting him in the ass in ways he didn't forsee such as, for example, he appears to be having a hard time finding clients.

    In a March 2013 Minneapolis Star-Tribune article about his trying to get paid to go away by objecting to class action settlements, he said: “You generally start with people that are in your, shall we say, inner circle or whatever. ... Now, I would hope ... that as time goes on that I expand the circle, that I gain some credibility and some experience and a reputation for successfully prosecuting these style of cases.”

    I guess that gaining credibility part didn't work out so hot for him.

    It appears even his "inner circle" is very small and he is finding it harder and harder to find people that want to participate in slimy 'threaten lawsuits and hope they settle' strategy.

    He has been reduced to trying to trick people into being plaintiffs for him.

    And I'll bet he, at one time or another, said something like "I don't care that I am getting attention in the tech press. It doesn't matter." Now he is finding out it does matter. Again, it shows he has a hard time seeing the big picture.

    What he doesn't seem to get is that as he goes from one 'be a nuisance to get a settlement' gambit to another (from porn copyright to class action objector to ADA threats to small businesses) he is just making his reputation worse and worse. These kinds of stains on your character don't go away for a long, long time in this age of easy Internet searches.

    For years to come, a quick Google search will show that his desire for quick bucks with minimal work blinds him to the difference between having the right to do something and it being the right thing to do.

    Will he learn his lesson? Probably not. I think odds are he will be able to find some other ADA plaintiffs whose ethical compass is as broken as his is.

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

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