Prenda Law’s Paul Hansmeier, infamous for constantly scheming about ways to use the judicial process to shakedown people for money, and pompously overstating his own position (e.g., “welcome to the big leagues”) has now lost his license to practice law.
As you may have noticed, I don’t write about Prenda anymore: my spare time is limited, and I prefer to spend it covering enemies of the society that are still strong and dangerous — unlike fo…
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.
“Piercing the corporate veil” of Paul Hansmeier’s law firm was justified.
The Cook County Medical Examiner has not yet declared a cause of death.
Prenda Law was a “copyright trolling” scheme that sued thousands for downloading online porn, but the organization was buried under a wave of judicial sanctions beginning in 2013.
However, the three lawyers found to be intertwined with the organization—John Steele, Paul Hansmeier, and Paul Duffy—continue to get in hot water. On Friday, an Illinois federal judge reconsidered (PDF) a 2014 ruling in which he found there wasn’t enough evidence for a “contempt of court” finding. New evidence has convinced US District Judge David Herndon that Steele and Hansmeier should be found in contempt, and last week he ordered them to pay $65,263. That amount will get progressively larger, the judge warned, “if they continue their misdeeds before this Court.”
In addition, Steele and Duffy “engaged in unreasonable, willful obstruction of discovery in bad faith,” and Herndon ordered those two to pay for the defense’s discovery expenses, needed to unwind the complex financial records.
The three offending lawyers have until July 15 to pay up.
“We’re ecstatic because we finally got it, and this order gives them a set date by which to pay,” said defense lawyer Jason Sweet in an interview with Ars. “They didn’t have to obstruct discovery. It was always in their control. As the court found, they’ve shown a willingness to lie, and they’ll continue to do so unless they’re sanctioned.”