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Prenda Law Attorney's Case Converted

By Sam Calvert, Attorney At Law |

A Minnesota attorney named Paul Hansmeier was "sort of famous" for being involved in a set of cases often called the Prenda Law cases. The gist of those cases was that the Prenda Law Firm would threaten to sue person "X" for downloading copyrighted pornography, but would settle the case for a few thousand dollars.

According to that infallible resource, Wikipedia:

In the 2013 civil ruling, Prenda Law, and three named principals, John Steele, Paul Hansmeier, and Paul Duffy, were found to have undertaken vexatious litigation,[4]:FOF.5 p.4 identity theft,[4]:FOF.9 p.5 misrepresentation and calculated deception (including "fraudulent signature"),[4]:FOF.6 p.4, FOF.9–11 p.5, p.6–8 professional misconduct and to have shown moral turpitude.[4]:p.10 The principals were also deemed to have founded and been the de facto owners and officers of the shell company plaintiff and their alleged "client", created in order to "give an appearance of legitimacy".[4]
(accessed by me on Dec. 5, 2015).

Mr. Hansmeier was ordered to pay a lot of financial sanctions on account of those cases. There are a lot more interesting facts, including that he recently started suing businesses here in Minnesota for violations of disability access laws. This year he filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy here in Minnesota and promptly ran into a buzzsaw. The United States Trustee (a part of the Department of Justice) brought a motion to convert his case to a chapter 7.  Their motion says, in part:

For the reasons stated in the motion to convert, the United States Trustee believes that the debtor’s chapter 13 plan cannot be confirmed. Specifically,it appears thatthe proposed plan does not comply with § 1322(a)(1),pays unsecured creditors an amount that is less than the amount that would be paid if the debtor’s estate was liquidated in chapter 7, was not proposed in good faith under 11U.S.C.§1325(a)(3), and the debtor does not have an ability to make payments under 11 U.S.C. § 1325(a)(6). In addition, the petition was not filed in good faith under 11 U.S.C.§1325(a)(7).

This week Judge Kathleen Sanberg granted the motion and converted the case to a chapter 7. The case will play out in the bankruptcy court (case number 15:42460) and we will see what happens to Mr. Hansmeier.

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