Court Tells Convicted Fraudster Paul Hansmeier To Stop Wasting The Court’s Time With Frivolous Litigation
from the no-one-got-anywhere-by-displeasing-the-court dept
Old habits die hard, even when limited by incarceration. Convicted lawyer/Prenda mastermind Paul Hansmeier apparently isn’t going to let being locked up for 14 years steer him clear of recidivism. As was reported in late 2020 by TorrentFreak, Hansmeier began filing copyright litigation from a place he certainly shouldn’t be filing lawsuits alleging illegal actions after firing up yet another honeypot for torrented porn aficionados.
Instead of concealing his own involvement, Hansmeier is now an open book. He states that he is the copyright holder and that an investigator helped him to share his video on the adult-oriented torrent site Bootytape.com.
“Hansmeier is the owner by assignment of the copyright in a short video (the ‘Video’). Hansmeier asked an investigator to publish the Video on the Internet. The investigator published the video on the Internet via the website: Bootytape.com.”
After uploading the torrent file, the honeypot was in place and it didn’t take long before someone, the John Doe, took the bait.
“On June 24, 2020, John Doe, acting via Internet Protocol Address 220.127.116.11, logged onto the website, browsed the website until he found the Video and used specialized software to access the investigator’s computer and make a copy of the Video for himself,” the complaint reads.
Because Hansmeier is an idiot, he didn’t limit himself to suing the alleged infringers. He also named a long list of federal defendants, including the prosecutors who secured his conviction. He claimed being prosecuted (and convicted!) “chilled” his constitutional right to engage in bad faith litigation, a claim he continues to raise obliquely by engaging in plenty of bad faith litigation.
The federal defendants were not happy with the dozens of cases that were filed. They argued that Hansmeier was merely trying to take revenge, noting that the complaints are insufficient to pursue a legitimate claim against any of the individual or company defendants.
“The requested restriction is sought here because of the proliferation of dozens of duplicative and vexatious lawsuits Hansmeier is now pursuing,” they argued.
“The repetitive nature of his filings and their rapidly increasing number suggest that Hansmeier intends to be vexatious. Second, it appears clear that Hansmeier’s lawsuits are little more than an attempt to harass his former federal criminal prosecutors.”
The court isn’t happy about the current state of affairs either. While it’s totally permissible for convicted people to challenge their sentences and raise questions about the laws used to convict them, there are rules they need to abide by and, considering the deference given to the government by courts, it’s hardly productive to begin your quest for justice by angering the court most likely to handle your case.
There’s a right way to do this and there’s the way Hansmeier is doing this. First, the court recounts [PDF] the numerous suits the former Prenda lawyer has filed in recent months.
Since his incarceration, Hansmeier has been involved in copious amounts of litigation on the alleged unconstitutionality of the Challenged Statutes as applied to him. His lawsuits, all of which seek declaratory and injunctive relief, allege that the statutes are unconstitutional because they either prevent him from pursuing copyright enforcement or prevent him from assisting unidentified individuals pursuing Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) enforcement claims.
It’s fully detailed in the court decision, but you might be better served with a more succinct rundown.
In May 2020, Hansmeier sued former Attorney General Bill Barr, alleging the statutes used to shutdown his bogus (and fraudulent!) copyright lawsuits were unconstitutional. This was followed by another lawsuit against Bill Barr, filed (for some reason) in Wisconsin. He also sued US Attorney Erica MacDonald in Wisconsin, alleging the unconstitutionality of laws used to block his ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) lawsuits.
Then he filed an additional sixteen (16)[!!!] lawsuits in all directions alleging he had been unconstitutionally convicted and imprisoned, all of which targeted the same statutes previous litigation had failed to prove were unconstititonal.
Enough, says the Minnesota federal court. If Hansmeier wants to keep suing, he’ll have to do so under a long list of restrictions. First, some harsh words for the lawyer who just can’t seem to stop lawyering badly.
Hansmeier’s insistence on filing numerous lawsuits on identical issues in the hopes of reaching a different outcome can only be described as frivolous and duplicative if not, arguably, harassing and abusive. Hansmeier’s litigiousness has drained resources not only from this district, but the District of Columbia and the Western District of Wisconsin. His actions have also required the Federal Defendants to dedicate time and resources in defending against meritless lawsuits again and again.
And here are the do’s and do not do’s of future Hansmeier federal court skylarking:
To regulate this district’s docket, promote judicial efficiency, and deter frivolous filings by Hansmeier, the Court will place appropriately tailored filing restrictions on him. In the event that Hansmeier initiates in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota without express prior written permission from the Chief Judge of the District of Minnesota any copyright infringement action or private enforcement action under the ADA against the U.S. Attorney General, former Acting U.S. Attorney Folk, any future United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota, Assistant U.S. Attorney MacLaughlin, former U.S. Attorney Luger, or the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, the Clerk is directed to immediately close the case and the Court will dismiss it without prejudice. Furthermore, any action removed to the District of Minnesota that meets the description above is also subject to immediate closure by the Clerk and dismissal without prejudice by the Court.
Time to find a hobby, Mr. Hansmeier. Weightlifting seems pretty popular in federal prisons. Maybe give that a shot. If nothing else, you’ll be able to impress future disappointed clients with your Iggy Pop-esque physique. Or maybe just spend this time thinking about the wrongs you’ve done and find some way to be a better person upon your release.