Former Prenda Lawyer Hit With A $50,000 Counterclaim In ADA Shakedown Lawsuit

from the trolling-for-ADA-dollars dept

Late in 2013, Paul Hansmeier, formerly of Prenda Law's Legal Buffoonery on Wheels Copyright Death Suicide Squad, realized that participating in a multi-jurisdictional legal train wreck had left him oddly unfulfilled. If the promise contained in his law degree was ever to be fulfilled, he would need to reassess his shakedown-focused lawyering.

After an indeterminable amount of thought, Hansmeier apparently arrived at the conclusion that -- unfulfilled promise or no -- he was really only good at one thing: shaking people down. And, sadly, he wasn't even all that great at that. But "sue what you know," as they say, and Hansmeier went about rebranding himself as a Champion of the Weak and Underprivileged.

No longer would he be throwing shaky demand letters and even shakier lawsuits at Household Members Voted Most Likely To Download Porn by the loose confederation of shakedown artists d/b/a An Actual Law Firm ("Come see our letterhead!"). That was the old Paul Hansmeier.

The new Paul Hansmeier would instead be throwing shaky lawsuits and demand letters at any company whose towel racks were located more than 32" above the ground or whose entry threshold was a ¼" above the legally-mandated height. The smaller the company the better, as they rarely even bothered to show up in court and would instead settle for a small fee.

The new Paul Hansmeier's operations were so efficient he could barely keep himself stocked in A4. Filings were submitted so fast not even the plaintiffs were aware they were listed as plaintiffs. And it was working, to a limited extent. Hansmeier was able to knock over a few mom-and-pop businesses for a few grand each. But now he's run into Kahler Hotels, which not only isn't interested in his ADA shakedown claims, but is countersuing him for $50,000+. (h/t to Dan Browning of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

In its response to Hansmeier's complaint, Kahler denies a majority of the allegations before moving on to its own complaints.

COUNT I - ABUSE OF PROCESS

1. Defendants are owners of real property located in Rochester, Minnesota.

2. Plaintiffs filed and served the instant action alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act and unfair discrimination.

3. Plaintiffs have an ulterior purpose in pursuing the claims set forth in their Complaint.

4. Plaintiffs’ Complaint misuses and perverts the purpose of a civil action.

5. As a direct and proximate result of Plaintiffs’ abuse of process, Defendants have sustained damages in excess of $50,000.

COUNT II - CIVIL CONSPIRACY

6. Defendants incorporate in this paragraph the allegations set forth in Paragraphs 1 through 5 as though they were fully set forth herein.

7. The Plaintiffs are engaged in a civil conspiracy to accomplish some concerted action, which injures Defendants.


8. The Plaintiffs did commit, and executed certain acts in pursuance of certain torts as previously delineated against the Defendants.

9. That as a result of the Plaintiffs’ tortious conduct alleged herein, Plaintiffs did conspire and agree to commit such acts.


10. As a direct and proximate result thereof, Defendants have sustained damages in excess of $50,000.

WHEREFORE, Defendants pray for entry of judgment as follows:

1. Plaintiffs take nothing by their Complaint as alleged;

2. Defendants are awarded damages in excess of $50,000 together with interest, costs, disbursements and attorney’s fees; and

3. The court order such further relief as it deems just and equitable.
Whether or not the counterclaims (which are really, really vague) hold up remains to be seen, but this motion should give Hansmeier second thoughts about trolling this particular venue for easy ADA cash.



Filed Under: abuse of process, ada, ada trolling, americans with disabilities, paul hansmeier, shakedown, trolling
Companies: disability support alliance, kahler hotels, prenda


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2015 @ 11:45am

    How was this guy not thrown in jail, disbarred, lost his home after the Prenda debacle? Weren't they ordered to pay a ridiculous amount of money they claimed not to have among other infractions?

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

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 9 Apr 2015 @ 11:48am

    Like Will Ferrell or Jeff Goldblum

    Oh, Mr. Hansmeier, you were so very entertaining in that one role, but, sadly, you only seem to be a one-trick pony. Like Ferrell and Goldblum, you seem to be only capable of one character, even if the setting changes. (Mea Culpa, I do remember Goldblum actually being a different character in the movie 'Death Wish.')

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2015 @ 12:53pm

      Re:

      Oh man, that's gold. I'd forgotten how much I was enjoying the Prenda chronicles, I really have missed that stuff. The return of the mysterious Alan Mooney! And you gotta love the "not a single document" that links Guava and Lightspeed, because of course all the docs with their names are separate documents for each company. The entertainment never stops with these guys.

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 9 Apr 2015 @ 11:49am

    I still don't get how that "filing a suit without the knowledge of the plaintiff" bit worked.

    Let's say I'm a lawyer. If I showed up in court and said "I'm here on behalf of Initrode Inc., to bring suit against Contoso Inc. for violating X, Y, and Z," and then someone from Initrode showed up and said "hey, that guy's not our lawyer and he never was," wouldn't that be a real good way to get myself into some real serious trouble?

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

  • icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), 9 Apr 2015 @ 12:08pm

    "...he could barely keep himself stocked in A4." [?]

    I only know what A4 is because of printer settings. I'm guessing Hansmeier doesn't.

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

  • icon
    DB (profile), 9 Apr 2015 @ 12:22pm

    That's an astonishingly weak counterclaim. It almost looks as if there should be "" as part of the filing.

    I suppose that it does check the box of filing a counterclaim, preventing the case from being unilaterally dismissed with the threat of refiling still existing.

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

  • icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 9 Apr 2015 @ 12:35pm

    John Steele

    In addition to gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear forces there is one even stronger: the one that draws the three stooges (Hansmeier, Steele, Duffy) together.

    John Steele is about to start the same line of "business" in Chicago. He setup a firm "The Accessibility Law Group" and solicits disabled people to become instruments in his get-rich-quick scheme. The website clearly violates the IARDC Rule 7.2(c).

    I already tipped Steele that Old Neighborhood Italian American Club doesn't have proper wheelchair access. You may want to add your two cents too.

    Duffy is rumored to be involved in The Accessibility Law Group too: this information is currently being verified.

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

  • identicon
    lars626, 9 Apr 2015 @ 12:39pm

    Perfect. You have to give Hansmeier credit for one thing; he has a talent for picking the Worst targets for his little scams. The Kahler has been Rochester's premier hotel for decades. They have direct connections to the Mayo Clinic and one of the hospitals. They have many years of dealing with rich, famous, and difficult clinic patients. They have also had to deal with enough legal bull over the years to fill a stadium.

    As a result, when someone like Hansmeier pokes at them the response is swift and sure. Stomp on the roach hard; the word will get around.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 9 Apr 2015 @ 12:43pm

    I wonder how many AHA suits they brought on behalf of Salty Marsh.

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

  • identicon
    jackn, 9 Apr 2015 @ 2:02pm

    Good thing they live in states where it is not ok to discriminate against customer. Just think if they were in Indiana. Not only can they not have ramps, they can even put barriers up to keep out the handicap (or whomever)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2015 @ 3:52pm

    After All, Turnabout's Fair Play

    So do you think Kahler Hotels' lawyer will send Hansmeier a letter offering to make the whole lawsuit go away for a mere $2,000?

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 9 Apr 2015 @ 3:54pm

    Why?

    Why does this dickhead still have a license to practice law, in ANY state? Why isn't he in prison?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2015 @ 4:48pm

    how is he still walking around free as a bird after making so many fake lawsuits just to line his pockets.

    Do lawyers have some exemption when it comes to breaking laws?

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Apr 2015 @ 2:08am

    *sits back and waits for the wheels of justice to grind forward*
    What is being done with the law is a travesty, but sadly it is all perfectly "legal"... which means we need to fix the damn laws.

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

  • identicon
    Alfred Normandy, 10 Jan 2016 @ 11:21am

    My brother got sued by this unscrupulous attorney

    I am looking for advice! My brother and his wife own a small store. They got sued by Hansmeier for some disability issue. They don't know what the issue is since they have been open for years and no real disabled person faced an access issue. Their City license and inspections are current and the City says they are in compliance with local and federal ADA requirements. Maybe the disability painting needs to be freshened up.

    An attorney offered to help but she wants 10's of thousands of $! My brother and his wife are minority immigrants that came to the US 18 years ago and they have been working 12 hour days to make ends meet, and make this store successful. Paying an attorney 10K or Hansmeier settlement may put them out of business.

    Any advice?
    Thank you!, Alfred!
    alfred.normandy@gmail.com

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


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