Minnesota Lawyers Board Asks State Supreme Court To Smack Paul Hansmeier Around A Bit

from the please-do dept

Grifters just keep grifting. Paul Hansmeier, former copyright troll and more recent ADA troll, is being referred to the Supreme Court of Minnesota for discipline. Last seen trying to weasel his way into bankruptcy to avoid several judgments against him, Hansmeier has had his law license suspended and is facing the possibility of more than a decade in prison.

Now there's this, which asks how much schadenfreude can one person possibly provide?

The board that disciplines lawyers in Minnesota filed a complaint Tuesday in the Minnesota Supreme Court against Paul Hansmeier, alleging that he had tried to defraud the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota by hiding or misrepresenting his assets.

Hansmeier has 20 days to respond to the complaint.

The state Supreme Court is already familiar with Hansmeier's, um... work, having said this about him in 2016 when indefinitely suspending his bar license.

Hansmeier committed misconduct in the first matter by bringing a lawsuit for the sole purpose of conducting discovery to find the identity of others against whom claims could be made, making misrepresentations to the tribunal, filing articles of termination for a corporation that contained false statements. failing to comply with discovery requests, failing to pay attorney fees assessed against him, and transferring funds out of his law firm in order to avoid paying sanctions. In a second matter. Hansmeier committed misconduct by participating in the initiation of a lawsuit without a basis in law and fact, making false and misleading statements to the court, failing to pay attorney fees assessed against him by the court. and submitting to the court a financial statement that was false, misleading, and deceptive. In a third matter, Hansmeier committed misconduct by bringing a frivolous action for an improper purpose. And in a fourth matter. Hansmeier committed misconduct by testifying falsely during a deposition, bringing a frivolous claim, and perpetrating a fraud upon the court.

The petition [PDF] is a little longer and delves into Hansmeier's seedy history, starting with his years with Prenda, which is summed up pretty nicely by Minnesota's Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

Before respondent was suspended, respondent, with other lawyers, purportedly on behalf of various entities that held the copyrights to various adult films, instituted hundreds of litigations in state and federal courts throughout the country alleging either copyright infringements via improper downloading of the films over the Internet or wrongful interception or hacking of usernames and passwords to gain access to the purported clients' websites.

Respondent was sanctioned in many of these matters.

Those sanctions were levied in four different lawsuits, racking up nearly $500,000 in fines and fees Hansmeier was supposed to pay. Rather than do that, Hansmeier tried to drum up a belated legal defense fund by engaging in ever more mass litigation, wielding the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) as a tool of extortion against a number of small Minnesota businesses -- a business model of his that's now being investigated by the FBI.

To dodge the sanctions, Hansmeier filed bankruptcy. This was as deceitful as any other litigation he's been involved in. Hansmeier shuffled assets around to keep them from creditors, sold his home without the bankruptcy court's permission, and failed to update the court when his cost of living expenses decreased dramatically.

The OLPR is asking for more fees to be assessed against Hansmeier, as well as possible disbarment. Hopefully, someone will inform the inmates he'll be rooming with that he's not a font of coherent legal strategy, despite his many years as a practicing lawyer.

Filed Under: disbarrment, minnesota, paul hansmeier
Companies: prenda, prenda law


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 4 Feb 2019 @ 10:48am

    The thought just struck me, what was this guy like growing up, that he ended up turning into this as an adult?

    Maybe someone should do a "young Paul Hansmeier" video, in the style of the famous (and hilarious!) "young Hillary Clinton."

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Feb 2019 @ 12:17pm

      Re:

      It would be a short video...And then he met John Steele.

      /s

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

    • identicon
      David, 4 Feb 2019 @ 1:00pm

      Re:

      If I remember correctly, Hansmeier's father is the head of the state's bar association or ethics committee or some other similar position not overwhelmingly congruous with his son's business practices. Anybody able to fill in some more info?

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

      • icon
        alanbleiweiss (profile), 4 Feb 2019 @ 2:34pm

        Re: Re:

        from an article over on the Star Tribune web site:

        ...Gordon Hansmeier, chairs the Seventh District Bar Association's Ethics Committee.

        (also referenced in a TechDirt comment from a Prenda article in 2015)

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

        • icon
          That Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Feb 2019 @ 4:38pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Considering the number of times he has worked magic to save his kids ass, one does wonder if the committee just keeps him around as an example of what not to do.

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

          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 6 Feb 2019 @ 5:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            LOL! This would make a great comedy drama. Christian Bale in the lead? Lexi Alexander might not direct unless there's fighting; who else could we ask about this?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2019 @ 1:46pm

      Re:

      True story about Paul growing up. He lost the junior high student council presidential election. He brought in his dad, who is a lawyer, to challenge the results. His father stated the way the ballots were presented was not fair. The entire school had to vote again. Paul lost when the vote was taken again.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Feb 2019 @ 12:03pm

    Prenda: The gift that keeps on grifting.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2019 @ 12:05pm

    I saw someone declare bankruptcy right before being offered $75k a year for a public position, not a peep from anyone.

    Best bankruptcy fraud story from the 1980s: a guy cashes out $150k from his credit cards, several thousand at a time on weekend visits to Atlantic City, where he sits in a hotel and doesn't bet. He claims later on he lost the money at the tables, wipes the debt clean, and starts up as a bookmaker with the proceeds, never looking back.

    Only in America...

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

  • identicon
    SA Church Lady, 4 Feb 2019 @ 2:00pm

    re: priceless

    @PaulHansmeier · May 16, 2017 It may be a gloomy day, but you should still #ObeytheADA!

    .....sound of ambulance. .....sound of guy chasing it

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2019 @ 2:02pm

    I would pay good cash to smack paul hannsmeier around a bit.

    In fact so many people would happily fork over $20 for some alone time with paul and Mr Fist, that it would pay for the entire judiciary. For several decades.

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

  • icon
    alanbleiweiss (profile), 4 Feb 2019 @ 2:29pm

    Salt Marsh

    Does this mean we're finally going to learn the true identity of Salt Marsh? I've waited so long for any article related to the Prenda clowns that I'd nearly given up hope.

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

  • identicon
    Grifty McGrift, 4 Feb 2019 @ 3:28pm

    The Great T. Prenda®™©℗

    Oh Yes, I'm the Great T. Prenda®™©℗
    T. Prendin' that I'm doin' well
    My greed is such, I T. Prend too much
    I'm really goin' straight to Hell

    Ooh Ooh yes I'm the Great T. Prenda®™©℗
    Just lyin' straight-faced to "The Gown"
    The MLB hates my "Bankruptcy"
    So they're gonna smack me aroun'

    T. Prendin' is gettin' me down

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

  • identicon
    Dave, 4 Feb 2019 @ 3:35pm

    With a large trout?

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

  • icon
    norahc (profile), 4 Feb 2019 @ 4:49pm

    Hope he enjoys his time in the big league...i mean big house.

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

  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 4 Feb 2019 @ 5:56pm

    Translate this to criminal court and he sounds exactly like almost every DA in America.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Feb 2019 @ 6:47pm

    'We in the legal system have standards... somewhere...'

    The OLPR is asking for more fees to be assessed against Hansmeier, as well as possible disbarment. Hopefully, someone will inform the inmates he'll be rooming with that he's not a font of coherent legal strategy, despite his many years as a practicing lawyer.

    'Possible disbarment.'

    Just... let that sink in.

    After everything he's done, he still has his license. I find it nearly impossible to believe that only now is someone suggesting that maybe he crossed a line somewhere and might deserve to lose his legal license, which means that until this point the bar has looked at what he's done and saw nothing wrong with it.

    For all that parasites like him drag the reputation of lawyers everywhere through the mud, the fact that they can do so unchecked for years by both the courts and the relevant authorities that could pull their ability to abuse the courts and people for personal gain is almost as bad, if not worse.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2019 @ 3:16am

      Re: 'We in the legal system have standards... somewhere...'

      For all that parasites like him drag the reputation of lawyers everywhere through the mud, the fact that they can do so unchecked for years by both the courts and the relevant authorities that could pull their ability to abuse the courts and people for personal gain is almost as bad, if not worse.

      No, you see, you're getting it backwards. This is a big part of the reason why "the reputation of lawyers everywhere" is mud. Doing something bad is bad enough, but being able to get away with it, with no accountability, is soooo much worse.

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

  • identicon
    Allan Chandler, 4 Feb 2019 @ 8:23pm

    Hansmeier committed misconduct in the first matter by bringing a lawsuit for the sole purpose of conducting discovery to find the identity of others against whom claims could be made, making misrepresentations to the tribunal, filing articles of termination for a corporation that contained false statements. failing to comply with discovery requests, failing to pay attorney fees assessed against him, and transferring funds out of his law firm in order to avoid paying sanctions. In a second matter. Hansmeier committed misconduct by participating in the initiation of a lawsuit without a basis in law and fact, making false and misleading statements to the court, failing to pay attorney fees assessed against him by the court. and submitting to the court a financial statement that was false, misleading, and deceptive. In a third matter, Hansmeier committed misconduct by bringing a frivolous action for an improper purpose. And in a fourth matter. Hansmeier committed misconduct by testifying falsely during a deposition, bringing a frivolous claim, and perpetrating a fraud upon the court.

    Yes, but he didn't kick my dog, so he can't be all that bad, surely?

    :-)

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

  • icon
    DB (profile), 4 Feb 2019 @ 9:45pm

    I have to agree -- what would you have to do to get timely disciplinary action?

    Shouldn't the standards be lower (higher?) than an actual criminal conviction? Shouldn't the desire to protect the public result in a speedier process than a criminal conviction? He should have been suspended years before the suspension occurred, and disbarred long before now.

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

    • identicon
      Pixelation, 5 Feb 2019 @ 10:13am

      Re:

      "He should have been suspended years before the suspension occurred, and disbarred long before now."

      If that happened, popcorn sales would plummet. Think of the poor popcorn producers!

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

    • icon
      Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 6 Feb 2019 @ 11:24am

      Re:

      You should realize that ANY self-regulating industry has ridiculously low or slow standard compliance practices! Look at 1) Congress 2) any law enforcement agency 3) Airlines 4) Legal and Medical fields.

      If narcotics companies were self-regulating, instead of Medical Marijuana in many states, we'd have Medical Meth!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2019 @ 5:49pm

    That sound you hear is out_of_the_blue, Hamilton and John Smith collectively losing their shit.

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

  • icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 6 Feb 2019 @ 10:04am

    He needs to be allowed to continue practicing law...

    Given the quality of his work, if he doesn't "practice" he'll never get better!

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.