A Minneapolis lawyer, who filed suits against a variety of Rochester businesses last year for possible violations of the American Disability Act, has been suspended from practicing law.
Paul Robert Hansmeier threatened a string of lawsuits in Rochester last summer against at leaset eight Rochester businesses including, Bilotti's Pizzeria, Hillcrest Shopping Center and the Kahler Grand Hotel. Many of the businesses characterized the lawsuits as "a get rich quick scheme."
Today the Pioneer Press reported that Hansmeier has been suspended from practicing law in Minnesota. The story by Richard Chin stated that he was censured for profiting from actions that were essentially "a legal shakedown."
Here's some from Chin's article:
Paul Robert Hansmeier, 35, was engaged in the practice of filing “porno-trolling” lawsuits to make “easy money” on copyright cases, according to one federal judge. The court suspended him for a range of misconduct ranging from lying to the courts, failing to pay fees and filing frivolous lawsuits.
The John Doe defendants, people who downloaded pornographic movies, would be served with notice of a pending copyright violation lawsuit by Hansmeier or his associates, according to court documents.
The defendants usually took a settlement deal and paid a few thousand dollars instead of hiring an attorney to fight the lawsuit and suffer potential social stigma of being accused of stealing pornography.
According to one judge, Hansmeier and his colleagues “suffer from a form of moral turpitude unbecoming of an officer of the court.”
Hansmeier has also been criticized for filing a rash of lawsuits in Minnesota targeting businesses he claimed weren’t in compliance with disability access laws.
Hansmeier said Wednesday that he wasn’t sure if he would seek reinstatement as a lawyer four years from now, but that he would continue to work on behalf of the disabled
who described himself as “a leader in the field” of suing people who illegally download videos from porn companies has been indefinitely suspended from practicing law by the Minnesota Supreme Court.