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Motion To Delay Sanctions Against Prenda Lawyers Denied

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the this-is-the-end dept.

The Courts 68

rudy_wayne writes with news that the Prenda lawyers recently sanctioned by a federal judge are starting to face consequences. From the article: "On Friday, Paul Hansmeier, a Minnesota attorney who has been pointed to as one of the masterminds of the Prenda copyright-trolling scheme, filed an emergency motion to stay the $81,000 sanctions order while he and his colleagues could mount an appeal. Today the appeals court flatly denied his motion. Two appellate judges signed this order, and it gives Hansmeier the option to make a plea for delay with the district court judge. That would be U.S. District Judge Otis Wright, the judge who sanctioned Hansmeier in the first place. Hansmeier is also getting kicked off a case he was working on that was totally unrelated to Prenda's scheme of making copyright accusations over alleged pornography downloads. On Friday, the 9th Circuit Commissioner ordered Hansmeier, in no uncertain terms, to withdraw from a case involving Groupon since he has been referred to the Minnesota State Bar for investigation. The commissioner has delayed Hansmeier's admission to the 9th Circuit because of Wright's order, which refers to Wright's finding of 'moral turpitude.'"

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68 comments

You know what I just realized? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777521)

I need a bigger monitor. I had a hard time reading all that with the massive erection the summary gave me. Seriously, this is fucking awesome. We're talking, distilled, 180 proof justice-porn here.

Re:You know what I just realized? (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43777551)

The extra amusing thing about the unrelated case is that he is representing his wife. "Sorry honey, not 'attorney-client relations' today, I'm under investigation for moral turpitude unbecoming the profession..."

Re:You know what I just realized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778041)

It's worth noting that the court appeared not to realize this, since she is referred to as "he" in the order. I'm sure they would have taken an even dimmer view if they had known.

Re:You know what I just realized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43785231)

It's worth noting that the court appeared not to realize this, since she is referred to as "he" in the order.

Standard rules of grammar requires the use of the male pronoun when the gender is either unknown or inclusive of both men and women. You'll see this a lot in legal documents.
(Side note- in most legal documents sex and gender are considered to be the same thing.)

Re:You know what I just realized? (2)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#43778111)

I think having sex with a client falls under moral turpitude most of the time.

Re:You know what I just realized? (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43778181)

having sex with a client

They are married, so I doubt that is an issue

Re:You know what I just realized? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#43778345)

Marriage: the legal kind of moral turpitude?

Re:You know what I just realized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778467)

Moral turpitude requires "willful" and "intentional" acts that are counter to public good or standards (rape, assault, lying to a judge, etc...).

The lawyer knew that lying to a judge was wrong and did it anyway. VERY bad news for the lawyer.

Julian Assange. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779969)

That right there is proof that if you're not liked that ANYTHING can be used as "proof" of rape.

Re:You know what I just realized? (1)

Anonym0us Cow Herd (231084) | about a year ago | (#43781627)

> Moral turpitude requires "willful" and "intentional" acts that are counter to public good or standards (rape, assault, lying to a judge, etc...).

You left out marriage.

Re:You know what I just realized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778463)

IAAL: Sex with a client is technically OK so long as the sexual relationship began before the legal representation began.

Re:You know what I just realized? (4, Funny)

AJWM (19027) | about a year ago | (#43779149)

Yeah, most of the time the lawyer screws the client without actual sex.

Re:You know what I just realized? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777557)

You understood it?

I didn't.

The links are legal shit that only someone who went through law school could understand. I mean really, I've had a few legal classes, but this shit is heavy legal geek shit.

I can't tell if the summary is right or not. And considering this is Slashdot, I'm apt to think that the summary is wrong. Cry me a river for being skeptical - especially on Slashdot.

Re:You know what I just realized? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year ago | (#43777593)

Maybe you could sing this song in your moment of glee, it's what came to mind when I read the summary...

        On the farm, every Friday
        On the farm, it's rabbit pie day.
        So, every Friday that ever comes along,
        I get up early and sing this little song

        Run rabbit – run rabbit – Run! Run! Run!
        Run rabbit – run rabbit – Run! Run! Run!
        Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
        Goes the farmer's gun.
        Run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run.

Lyrics courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Run_Rabbit_Run [wikipedia.org]

Re:You know what I just realized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777667)

Get a hold of yourself, no pun intended.

It's not as if the judge ordered the asshole be castrated, then given a few years in solitary confinement listening on alternating days to the sounds of crying, screaming children on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and the sounds of nails being dragged across chalk-boards on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, Sundays being reserved for the sounds of people vomiting. It's not like the judge then ordered that he be doused with boiling oil, and then that he be anally violated by an enraged, AIDS-infected, rabid, syphilitic gorilla with leprosy.

If he had, then your massive erection would be understandable. Meantime, you should probably calm down.

Re:You know what I just realized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777685)

It's not as if the judge ordered the asshole be castrated, then...

Of course not, why would he send him back to law school?

Re:You know what I just realized? (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43780485)

I need a bigger monitor. I had a hard time reading all that with the massive erection the summary gave me. Seriously, this is fucking awesome. We're talking, distilled, 180 proof justice-porn here.

Hello, this is Prenda Law. It has come to our attention that you've been watching Prenda-lawyer's-hard-first-day-in-prison porn without having paid for it. Please kindly send $4,500 to our bank account or we'll have to tell your neighbors about it.

be a copyright troll, lose your livelihood (1)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#43782343)

for that is indeed what is happening here. crook lawyers running a RICO are finally losing their meal ticket. woo hoo!

More shady business (5, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#43777559)

If you've been following the coverage on Popehat or FightCopyrightTrolls, you'll know that the Groupon class-action case is another one of Hansmeier's schemes to make money. He has a few cases where someone in his family files as an objector in a class-action case at the 11th hour (meaning that they are going to hold the case up and not let it settle, unless they get a nice payout of course), and then Hansmeier himself acts as the attorney for the objector. There are theories that he simply files the objections himself under a family member's name, and then proceeds to represent them. The objector in the Groupon case is Padraigin Browne, Hansmeier's wife (and a patent attorney). He's also represented his father, another attorney, in other class-action cases. I like how the judge ordered Hansmeier to provide proof to the court that he notified his client (wife) that he wasn't eligible to represent her.

Re:More shady business (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#43777813)

Great, another family of lawyers. Any chance we could pit them against WBC and kill >0 bird with 1 stone?

Re:More shady business (2)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#43778089)

Even the WBC has some standards and morality.
Countable on one hand and needing a microscope to view, but still.
Besides, they may enter into a symbiotic relationship if forced together, so it's better for those parasites to be dealt with separately.

Re:More shady business (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#43778135)

Even the WBC has some standards and morality.

HAHAAHAAAAAhaaahaa!
I'm sorry, but you lost me there.

Re:More shady business (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43778709)

Lost me at WBC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WBC [wikipedia.org] Still no clue which is being referred to on this point.

Re:More shady business (4, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#43778917)

Westborough Baptist Church

It's the fundies who like to picket funerals saying that the soldiers are dying because the USA supports gays too much. And by 'supports gays too much' I mean 'fails to burn them at the stake or something'.

Most of the family are apparently lawyers and there are rumors they finance their protests by suing anybody who violates their 'rights'.

oh, yes, the inbred Phelpses (1)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#43782395)

a world unto their own, praise the Lord. they really should retire to an island with no communication to the rest of the world and protest themselves to perfect their drooliness.

Re:More shady business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43782785)

As much as I think the fundies are misguided, calling the WBC fundamental Christians is an insult to fundies and in fact an insult to the third of the world's population who are of the Christian faith. These "people" are not by any strech of the imagination "Christians" in any way. They are an affront and insult to Christianity and Christians world wide. The "church" is a family of lawyer who no more believe in Christ than Richard Dawkins does. They're scammers.

Jesus could have been talking about these vermin in Luke 11:46 when he said "Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them. So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs."

This "church" worships money and nothing more. They have no morals, nor ethics, no honor. It's a sham.

Re:More shady business (3, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43778243)

Standards?

1 watch newspapers for high profile deaths
2 show up at funeral
3 stage shockingly objectionable protest
4 be assaulted and/or insulted
5 file suit against grieving relatives for violation of civil rights

It's hard to see that WBC has any standards, or that those nonexistent standards might be any higher than the Prenda lawyers. I'd like to see someone like Judge Wright get hold of the WBC bunch.

Re:More shady business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779017)

> 3 stage shockingly objectionable protest

That's a matter of opinion.

It is their right to choose where and how to make political statements, according to a constitutional standard. They have standards. You just don't like them, which is troublesome.

Of course it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780161)

"> 3 stage shockingly objectionable protest

That's a matter of opinion."

Of course it is. However, that's a fatuous and empty statement of absolutely no worth whatsoever.

It is a matter of opinion whether rape and murder is objectionable. The rapist things it was fine.

Captain Rum: "there are two schools of thought on having a crew, I say you don't, EVERYONE else says you do!"

Re:More shady business (1)

Ziest (143204) | about a year ago | (#43779037)

Even the WBC has some standards and morality.

We sent National Geographic out in search for their "standards and morality" but they have found a Unicorn and the fountain of youth....

Re:More shady business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777859)

He has a few cases where someone in his family files as an objector ... and then Hansmeier himself acts as the attorney for the objector.

Plain and simple (and I hope a lawyer here can answer): how is this permitted? This seems like it would be cut-and-dry conflict of interest.

I went through the American Bar Association's Rules of Professional Conduct (particularly Rule 4-1.7) but 11 only goes over the conflict of interest situation when two lawyers are represents clients and the lawyers themselves have a relationship, not the lawyer and the client.

Can someone shed some light on this? Thanks.

Re:More shady business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778001)

Why shouldn't someone be allowed to have a family member be an attorney for them? How would it be a conflict of interest, since both people would want presumably the same thing? Maybe it lets some lawyers save their name, or in cases like that, abuse the system, but I would rather pay that price than tell a bunch of people they can't let their family member give them potentially free counsel.

Re:More shady business (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#43778113)

Because you are not supposed to pretend to be on one side and actually want the other to win. You are even allowed to represent yourself if you really want to, because the lawyer is supposed to be very interested in helping you as much as possible, even beyond the bounds of the law as it pertains to some other random person I even think (A lawyer is not supposed to squeal on you and tell the authorities that you admitted guilt to some crime).

So there is loads of interest here, just not any "conflict of".

Re:More shady business (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#43783639)

I'm not an attorney, but Judge Otis Wright in the California case was looking at rule 11 sanctions against Prenda Law. The basis for that was because he was under the impression that the shell companies that the lawyers were representing were in fact owned by the lawyers themselves, but they did not notify the court of that. They would have been allowed to proceed if they had notified the court that they had a monetary interest (their claims and discovery requests simply would have been given more scrutiny in that case), but Judge Wright alleged that they committed fraud on the court by trying to hide that relationship. So it's fine if a lawyer has a monetary stake in the case (as far as I know, again, not a lawyer), but they need to be up front about that from the start. I doubt Hansmeier was trying to hide his relationship with his wife, the goal was simply to extract $20k or $30k from the defendant (Groupon) so that they would withdraw their objection and let the case settle. They file their objection just before the deadline for filing in the hope that the defendant wants a quick settlement. Most of this is just my speculation though, which comes from following Ken's great coverage on Popehat, as well as the coverage on fightcopyrighttrolls.com and dietrolldie.com.

Re:More shady business (1)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#43777933)

For proof, I guess he could show the court his balls, after his wife has cut them off...

Re:More shady business (4, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#43778929)

here are theories that he simply files the objections himself under a family member's name, and then proceeds to represent them.

You know, this makes me wonder what goes on with these types of lawyer. I mean, as I've aged I've realized that not all lawyers are scummy, it's a bit like bad cops - one scummy lawyer slimes an awful lot of other lawyers. Thing is, they always seem to be experienced lawyers, and generally get smacked by the 'disbarment' stick sooner or later, normally fairly quickly(within a couple years, out of a possible 40 year career).

So is it a case of where they start out following the ethics guidelines the classes taught them, but end up pushing the edge and pushing the edge until they go too far, with the process generally taking years, as they slowly become disillusioned and greedy?

Re:More shady business (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#43783679)

So is it a case of where they start out following the ethics guidelines the classes taught them, but end up pushing the edge and pushing the edge until they go too far, with the process generally taking years, as they slowly become disillusioned and greedy?

You'd hope that they start out ethical. Judge Wright in California said that their porn trolling cases were basically allowed because they found the nexus of outdated copyright laws, a paralyzing social stigma for the defendant, and potentially expensive litigation that people want to avoid. It just seems like the lawyer's version of a get-rich-quick scheme. They can interject into class action suits and extract a payment that way with minimal effort, they can monitor bittorrent and send settlement letters to downloaders for a few thousand with minimal effort, etc.

Re:More shady business (1)

Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) | about a year ago | (#43784527)

So is it a case of where they start out following the ethics guidelines the classes taught them, but end up pushing the edge and pushing the edge until they go too far, with the process generally taking years, as they slowly become disillusioned and greedy?

I suspect novice lawyers who so happen to lack scruples are uncertain about what they are likely to get away with, so they start out not behaving egregiously scummy. At times goes on, the scummy lawyers eventually figure out "cash cows". The "cash cows" are improved in their moneymaking aspect with volume. Volume in legal gray areas breeds minor mistakes. Minor mistakes breed complacence that leads to major mistakes. Every major mistake brings a small chance of pissing off an unusually astute judge.

Separate issues (0, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43777563)

Okay, first, the Judge who originally told Prenda to shove it has come under fire for pornography downloads. So we have a company who makes a living off getting people's internet download history now trying to weasel out of it, and coincidentally the Judge behind it finds his download history being made public. How coincidentally is left as an excercise for the reader to determine.

So, because the judiciary is very conservative, his appointment is being suspended until the allegations are cleared. Now here's the kicker -- moral "turpitude" isn't a crime, but it is a reason to deny a judge an appointment. Out of an abundance of caution, the judge is also being asked to drop some cases from his roster where the involved parties are obviously looking for appeals and dragging out the legal process and they don't want the judge's "moral turpitude" to come under fire in those select cases as a reason to further either parties' political or legal maneuvering. That's fair.

It's especially fair when you consider Prenda tried exploiting this very thing in their own litigation. Obviously, the appeals court saw right through this and said not just no, but "Hell no." So they've managed to make the judge's life difficult by trafficking in sleeze. But what do you expect from a business that depends on sleeze for its profits?

Re:Separate issues (2, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year ago | (#43777635)

So, because the judiciary is very conservative, his appointment is being suspended until the allegations are cleared.

They're not doing this because the judiciary is very conservative; some judges are, some are very liberal. It's just because our court system has centuries of experience with this type of thing and knows that judges are like Caesar's wife. They not only need to avoid doing anything that would call their impartiality into question, they have to be above suspicion. Being investigated on a "morals" charge could jeopardize every case he works on because his integrity would become an issue on appeal, and the easiest way to avoid that is by not having him hear cases where the charges against him might become significant.

Re:Separate issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778069)

Conservative has meanings besides a direction on a political spectrum. Such an approach to how judges handle such things is conservative, just not in the sense you tried interpreting it.

Re:Separate issues (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43778103)

They're not doing this because the judiciary is very conservative; some judges are, some are very liberal. It's just because our court system has centuries of experience with this type of thing and knows that judges are like Caesar's wife.

When I used the word 'conservative', I was describing their reaction, not their political views. Conservative, as in excercising an abundance of caution, not conservative as in prudish.

Re:Separate issues (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777669)

Okay, first, the Judge who originally told Prenda to shove it has come under fire for pornography downloads

Huh? I didn't read the article (naturally!) but I didn't get anything like that out of our summary. Wright's finding of "moral turpitude" refers to his judgement of Hansmeier. Hansmeier is getting kicked off of a completely different case (about Groupon) because the comissioner of the court presiding over that case won't let a lawyer with "moral turpitude" bring the case into his court. The original Prenda case was about porn downloads, and that set the whole thing off.

Re: Separate issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777785)

Where the hell did you get that the judge is under fire for downloading pornography? It doesn't say anything like that in the summary or the article.

Re: Separate issues (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year ago | (#43778033)

If I was the judge I'd embrace it.

"Yeah I download porn and I'm proud of it. I'm a red blooded dirty minded american, what's it to ya?"

Re: Separate issues (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#43778143)

Yes, but if this is that same illegal downloading that this lawyer is into revealing, then you cannot really condone that publically as a judge.

Re:Separate issues (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778079)

Um, what are you talking about?

To my knowledge, no allegations have been made against Judge Wright.

Re:Separate issues (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#43780035)

To my knowledge, no allegations have been made against Judge Wright.

Sure they have: the grandparent just made some.

Re:Separate issues (1)

Minwee (522556) | about a year ago | (#43783665)

To my knowledge, no allegations have been made against Judge Wright.

Sure they have: the grandparent just made some.

And you just referred to them. That's a second source, so we have confirmation. Let's print it!

"From the article" (0)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about a year ago | (#43777605)

The /. summary is just short of 60% of the article! (By word count.)

Re:"From the article" (1)

Quasimodem (719423) | about a year ago | (#43777713)

Obsessive compulsive, or just trying out a new word counter?

Re:"From the article" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778407)

Obviously a bored law clerk, finishing his assignment to set up the info for a new lawsuit.

Not so great summary (4, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | about a year ago | (#43777817)

The summary didn't do a good job of explaining the appellate court order in this case. The judges were essentially saying that the issue was not ripe for consideration at their level, because Hansmeier needs to make the request in district court and have it denied there first. He can appeal the district court's refusal to issue a stay, but only after that decision is actually made.

Re:Not so great summary (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#43778171)

If I were the judges here I would not be worrying about his obviously lacking morals as much as his completely lacking law competency.

Re:Not so great summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779953)

They're actually being nice to him by telling him exactly what to do (make the stay request at the relevant level), and after he does that they'll consider it then (i.e. "No, but feel free to try again" versus "No, and don't bother trying again"). If he's too dumb to figure that out after being told what the right procedure is, then he should just pay the fine, withdraw from the bar, and work on a new career.

Re:Not so great summary (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year ago | (#43783799)

The summary didn't do a good job of explaining ...

That's pretty much any summary on /. ever.

Like a cold lager on a muggy afternoon (2)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#43777889)

Good one, judges. Please follow it thru to the completion and make an example out of these vile cretins.

Aren't they all? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778397)

Moral Turpitude is a prerequisite for copyright and patent attorneys.

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