Something strange and disturbing is going on in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Cops have been instructing paramedics to use certain drugs to subdue arrestees. Cops don’t know what’s best for arrestees in terms of medical care. The fact that paramedics have been following their instructions is the most disturbing fact of all. As the Star Tribune reports, cops telling EMS personnel what to do has put people’s lives in jeopardy.
While some of 3M’s history will remain secret as a result of the settlement deal, documents already made public in the Minnesota case point to one critical tool the Minnesota-based company used to defend itself — a scientist named John Giesy, who helped 3M spin the science on PFCs chemicals in the company’s favor even as he presented himself as an independent scientist.Giesy and 3M did not respond to requests for comment.Giesy has worked as a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Michigan State, and at least 11 other universities, and received grants from 3M for “selective funding of outside research.” That funding was a key part of 3M’s strategy around PFCs, which according to one internal document was guided by the dictum “command the science.” The studies the company produced through this effort, as slides 3M prepared about its research program make clear, were intended partly as “defensive barriers to litigation.”
John Krenik lives in St. Paul, Minn. and owns two collector cars that he keeps in his driveway. I’d like to tell you more about the cars, but I can’t because they’re both under tarps. Tarps that were used to “screen” the cars, per Minnesota law. Incredibly, this isn’t enough for Krenik’s neighbors or the state of Minnesota, which has declared these cars a public health hazard. Get ready to get so frustrated you punch your screen.
Everyone behind the failed clown school that was Prenda Law deserves what’s happening to Paul Hansmeier. Unfortunately, it appears Hansmeier is taking the most damage from the fallout of Prenda’s disastrous copyright trolling… or at least he’s the one doing most of his suffering in public.
Of course, it’s his own fault. Rather than get out of the trolling business, Hansmeier doubled down. He swapped porn stars for wheelchairs, pursuing small businesses for Americans with Disabilities Acts violations. Fronting as a public interest, Hansmeier’s “Disabilities Support Alliance” is every bit the serial litigant Prenda was.
Now, it’s falling apart. As is Hansmeier himself. He’s currently facing possible disbarment for his participation in Prenda’s fraudulent behavior. He just lost one of his lawsuits against a Minnesota landlord for bogus ADA violations — one out of more than 100 lawsuits he’s filed against small businesses in the area. If Hansmeier’s asked to cough up legal fees, one wonders where he’ll find the money.
State bar regulators say Hansmeier hid money, lied in court.
Paul Hansmeier, having learned all he needs to know about practicing law from his years in the trolling trenches as part of Prenda Law, is now shaking down businesses using ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) lawsuits. This new (but not really) approach is slightly more palatable to the general public than attempting to fish a few bucks from randy torrenters via infringement lawsuits, but not by much. Those on the receiving end of these shakedown efforts don’t see much difference between Hansmeier’s new approach and the actions that netted him and Prenda Law sanctions from multiple courts.
Hansmeier still seems enthralled with the possibility of easy money, even if his experience with Prenda Law didn’t exactly pan out the way its principals hoped. Most are still in the process of extracting themselves from the flaming wreckage of Prenda, but they’re limping away, rather than strutting. Some may even face jail time for contempt.
Hansmeier and his non-profit (Disability Support Alliance) — which exists nowhere but the Minnesota business registry and as a nominal plaintiff in his 50+ ADA lawsuits — are running into roadblocks on Easy Buck Ave. One of the businesses he recently sued addressed his allegations by filing a $50,000 counterclaim for abuse of process and civil conspiracy.
Now, there’s more trouble on the way.
Cal Brink was tired of the lawsuits that just kept coming. Since the first suit claiming lack of disability access was filed more than a year ago, businesses in this southwest Minnesota town of nearly 14,000 people have been worried that they, too, would be hit.
Nine lawsuits have been filed here so far by the Disability Support Alliance, a nonprofit group formed last summer, including one against the only bowling alley in town. The owner said he will soon close rather than pay the DSA’s $5,500 settlement offer or make the $20,000 of changes needed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Nobody fights them, because it’s going to cost you more to fight,” said Brink, executive director of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Now Marshall is fighting back. Working in concert with the Minnesota State Council on Disability, Brink developed an access audit for local businesses, allowing them to develop a plan to fix ADA issues and potentially to ward off litigation.
The plan has won the attention of the state Department of Human Rights, which hopes it could be used in other communities hit by serial litigation.
Since the putative goal is to improve access for the disabled, you’d think something called the “Disability Support Alliance” would be behind it. But the DSA isn’t about improving access. It’s about making money. Eric Wong, a member of the four-person-strong DSA says companies just need to pay it first and worry about complying with the law later.
His group “is currently in the process of producing a voluntary mass settlement agreement for those businesses in Marshall that are ready to confess to their crime, fully comply … and pay the damages/restitution that they are liable for under the law,” Wong said in an e-mail.
“The lawsuits will stop when there is no more access crime to prosecute,” he said. Many businesses “fail to understand that … we are now a zero tolerance state.”
Roughly translated: the trolling will continue until it’s run off the rails by the public or the courts. The lawsuits have already caught the eye of Hennepin County’s chief judge, which noted that the flurry of filings “raised the specter of serial litigation” and has ordered all DSA/Hansmeier’s lawsuits filed in this county be handled by one judge. This will probably prompt Hansmeier to take his “business” elsewhere, rather than deal with extra scrutiny from a judge who won’t have to connect the dots between multiple filings in multiple venues. With any luck, Hansmeier’s efforts elsewhere will be greeted with the same local resistance and judicial distrust.
Its faith-based 12-step program dominates treatment in the United States. But researchers have debunked central tenets of AA doctrine and found dozens of other treatments more effective.
Any regular reader of these pages will be familiar with the term “copyright troll”. These companies have made a business model out of monitoring file-sharing networks for alleged copyright infringements, tracking down alleged offenders and then demanding hard cash to make supposed lawsuits go away.
The practice is widespread in the United States but also takes place in several countries around Europe. Wherever the location, the methods employed are largely the same. ‘Trolls’ approach courts with ‘evidence’ of infringement and demand that ISPs hand over the details of their subscribers so that the copyright holder can demand money from them.
During September 2014, TorrentFreak became aware of a UK court case that had just appeared before the Chancery Division. The title – TCYK LLP v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd – raised eyebrows. From experience we know that TCYK stands for The Company You Keep and is the title of the film of the same name directed and starring Robert Redford, appearing alongside Susan Sarandon and Shia LeBeouf.
While the movie itself is reportedly unremarkable, the response to it being unlawfully made available on file-sharing networks has been significant. In the United States TCYK LLC has filed dozens of copyright infringement lawsuits against Internet subscribers in many states including Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Florida and Minnesota, to name a few. Those interested in their U.S-based activities can read about them extensively on ‘troll’ watching sites DTD and Fight Copyright Trolls.
The big news today, however, is that TCYK LLC is about to start demanding cash from customers of the UK’s second largest ISP, Sky Broadband. TorrentFreak approached Sky back in September for information on the case but after several emails back and forth the trail went cold. We can now reveal what has transpired.