A must read hearing transcript: Lighspeed v. Smith, November 13, 2013

I’m sorry for thy much misgovernment.
William Shakespeare, “Much Ado About Nothing,” 4.1.99


On Friday St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a long story about one of the most watched Prenda’s infamous disasters, Lightspeed v Smith lawsuit (Raul had been the first to break a story about this farce 1.5 years ago). In addition to a good article, St. Louis Post-Dispatch presented us with a Christmas gift — a transcript of a motion hearing in Judge Murphy’s chambers on November 13, 2013. We all know what followed two weeks after the hearing — a scalding order, in which Murphy explicitly called John Steele and Paul Hansmeier liars:

[…] For example, at the November 13 hearing, Hansmeier skirted the Court’s direct questions, Steele made feigned protestations, and both flat-out lied about their association with Prenda Law, Inc. in the face of documentary evidence on the record in this case, and their sworn declarations in other cases.

Our three stooges were participating: Duffy and Steele in person, Hansmeier via the phone. Duffy did not say a word beyond introducing himself (which is natural, as the purported Prenda owner is barely involved in the fraudulent enterprise). Hansmeier did all the talking, and Steele joined him at the very end.

Proposed watermark for
the Prenda stationery

If you have been following the case, you know that Steele and Hansmeier claimed that the judge’s ruling, awarding attorney fees to the defense, was unfair because they knew nothing about the latest developments in the case and did not have a chance to respond. In essence, the judge gave our “heroes” enough rope a chance to argue why, while Duffy was served all the time electronically, Steele and Hansmeier needed to be served with motions and orders separately. You know, the Prenda clowns travel over the country performing the same song, to which the chorus is “We were not served!” We heard this motif in California, Connecticut, Massachussetts, and now in Illinois.

In a curious mixture of amusement and disgust, I envisioned a couple of naughty children who have been caught red-handed but continue lying in a futile hope to avoid punishment, and adults who are tired of these kids’ shenanigans, but don’t want to push too hard in a fear of messy temper tantrums.

Just look at these amazing fables:

MR. HANSMEIER: I first learned of the motion when I got a phone call from Paul Duffy telling me that the Court had granted the motion for attorneys’ fees against not only him but —

THE COURT: Right. You didn’t get notice of it until after the order had been entered.

MR. HANSMEIER: That’s correct.

THE COURT: All right.[…]

MR. STEELE: […] I learned about this fee issue when Paul Hansmeier called me — I don’t know if it was a few days ago, a week ago, whatever — and told me what he had just learned from Paul Duffy.

Another entertaining moment: when Hansmeier whined that 70K in attorneys’ fees are too high, the judge noted:

THE COURT: You have not seen anything yet. The other defendants have not filed theirs yet. That’s what you call bargain rates around here. You are going to see what rates are shortly. As I said, ordinarily we look for six figures on notices of removal around this place. So I don’t know what your financial situation is, but in the larger picture I can just tell you that’s just kind of a foreshadowing of about what you are going to see here shortly here, I think.

And indeed, AT&T and Comcast later demanded their cut of Prenda’s flesh, and got what they asked for: $188,658.11 in addition to Smith’s $72,367.00 — $261,025.11 total.


The finale of that epic hearing is priceless. Meeting and exceeding our expectations, Jester John simply couldn’t keep his mouth shut and started talking. He is not a stranger to provoking judges, remember famous Wright’s “Raise your voice again and I’m going to introduce you to the United States Marshals. Get out”?

MR. STEELE: And, your Honor, I think it is important because we are assuming a lot of things. For instance, prior to this case even being filed, I personally spoke with Anthony Smith twice. I personally spoke with him and came away saying —

THE COURT: Who left him with a card that said call this person. They’re a very important lawyer from —

MR. STEELE: It wasn’t —

THE COURT: Obviously, somebody did.

MR. STEELE: The person that did that, I’ve never met never heard of, never spoke to.

THE COURT: But it is your case, you are responsible for it. It is your case, you filed it. There seems to be —

MR. STEELE: I didn’t file it.

THE COURT: There seems to be — what do you mean you didn’t file it? You entered your appearance in it.

MR. STEELE: Right. But I did not file this case.

THE COURT: Do you think that makes a difference —


THE COURT: — if you enter your appearance in a case that’s pointless, worthless, a sham?

MR. STEELE: Well, Judge, this same type of cases have been ruled in our favor in many other jurisdictions, including the state action that preceded proceeded this, the judge sided with our arguments. So in one case —

THE COURT: Mr. Steele, you are in the United States court of — in Southern District of Illinois. You are part of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Now, I could be dead wrong. Occasionally, I am; not too often. But I would say that this litigation the chances of being successful on appeal are somewhere between slim and below zero. This matter is under advisement. The Court’s in recess.



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12 responses to ‘A must read hearing transcript: Lighspeed v. Smith, November 13, 2013

  1. So Hans claims $70K is a lot of money to him. What about the disabled, the elderly and the war veterans he recklessly sued, with vexatious litigation, and putting them through nothing short of hell because he knew how to do it, and knew he could do it, and the victims had to hire lawyers at their own expense to prove their innocence.

    What about all the money the victims had to lay out in attorney fees? Wasn’t that a lot of money to them?

    Hansmeier, for the longest time I really wanted to give you, and lawyers like you, the benefit of the doubt. What you’ve done is actually prove to me that a person can spend a fortune going to law school and then immediately blossom into pure unadulterated evil.

  2. There must be alot of people chumoing at the bit for a class action lawsuit against these clowns. It sounds as though their may be criminal investigations under way.

  3. Did anybody happen to see when Duffy, Steele and Hansmeier pulled up to the courthouse for this hearing? I was just curious if they all fell out of the little car at once honking their little horns while wearing big floppy shoes and red noses.

    The Problem John has is that his ego knows no bounds, he has been bullying victims of his lawsuits for so long into settling, he seems to think he can get away with it in front of Judges as well, and equally both times he got rebuked for his bravado.

    The Prenda gang judgements are starting to mount up, what started out as a fair chunk of change has snowballed into a huge deficit and it’s isn’t done growing yet, all that were left out of this Judges order were the Star Trek references.

    As for Hansmeiers whining about the 70k, Tough Shit Paul! Maybe you can try and see if there is a class action suit you can file an objection to for a quick 10k, or maybe there is some website some homemaker or pensioner has about their cat that you can try and shakedown for 5k…I guess when you have been grifting this long the habit is hard to give up.

    I guess the old Excel pay spreadsheet for Prenda dn the payments to Troll consulting must not be trickling in as much …right boys? Guess old John will have to turn in his Matte Grey Beamer in for that 78 LeCar that is for sale down the street from the cuban couple.

    Well that’s a shame boys looks like you new settlement scheme is in the shitter due to the Names of Hansmeier and Steele being associated with it and god knows even the Craiglist attorneys now know how toxic it is to do any buisness with either of the three stooges for fear of ending up in front of their state bar.

    Hey John, have you figured out how long it will be before Duffy decides to get out from under all the Judgements and bar complaints and save himself a jail sentence and turn witness against you and Paul much like Gibbs will. I dont think that old Duffy has the stamina to go a few rounds with the IRS criminal Division nor will he want to be on the end of a RICO indictment.

    I bet your losing a little sleep over that huh John, wondering who will flip next…Duffy or Lutz, who both want out from under. And you have to admit John, if they turned witness, lighter penalties and maybe and avoidance of any real lengthy jail time, might be pretty appealing to them and they get out from under all the mess you have left for both of them when you assured them this was just easy and they make a couple bucks.

    I bet Lutz must jump ten feet when the phone rings or a car stops out side his house or he hears sirens close by… wondering if thats the U.S. Marshals to drag him to court in chains…you know since he keeps missing this court dates he is required to attend, but couldnt put him on the stand now could we John…No guess not after his brilliant Q&A session with the Judge in the Sunlust case.

    Well John you have a good holiday, and spend some time with the family while you can, cause those visting ours can be tough to schedule time for people to come and see you in the federal pen. Enjoy your holiday!

  4. Steele: Your honor, let me pull from my deep knowledge of the multitude of other cases we have filed together in a multitude of other courts across the country to explain why I’m not a party to this case that we lost, were sanctioned for and are expected to pay fees on… I’m a winner, your Honor, and this case was a loser. A winner obviously cannot be party to it!

    The man’s a walking talking contradiction in a suit. Too bad there’s no pictures or videos of him at this hearing, because I’m sure that even his suit was contradicting itself. I bet he was wearing pinstripe pants with a polka-dot tie or something.
    And WTF is up with Duffy? He’s just sitting there quietly smiling from under the bus? Either he’s a lobotomized monkey, or Steele & Hansmeier have something really nasty on him to keep him quiet like that.

    • I used to think that was true, that John & Hans had something on Lutz. At the time, it made perfect sense, inasmuch as he wasn’t showing up for court ordered hearings. Since the entire business model was built on blackmail, I thought maybe they had blackmailed him into silence.

      Then later, Duffy shows up at this most recent hearing and is amazingly quiet. Duffy used to be hateful and spiteful, with venom in his court pleadings. Now all of a sudden he shows up, all decked out in a suit, and has absolutely nothing to say. Is it blackmail, or is it that he’s finally waking up to see the hole he’s dug for himself?

      I’m leaning towards Duffy finally waking up to the gravity of the situation. He may have come to realize that anything he says can and will be used against him later. And believe me, it will.

      There are two basic reasons why Hans is going after ADA suits. (1) Their ease in reaping attorney fees, and (2) the chameleon changing colors. Previously, he sued the disabled and now he sues for the disabled. This is his PR attempt to change his image. What he doesn’t realize is the publicity surrounding his trolling days will follow him for many years to come. If the government doesn’t get him, poverty will. I did read a short blurb on the net the other day that his current ADA clients Poss & Wong most likely don’t even know what a troll is or what kind of trouble Hans is really in.

      Think for a moment how all of this ties in together. It is doubtful that Lutz knew much about what Hans & John were really doing. The minion lawyers who answered the Craigslist ads were in the dark. Gibbs now claims he was lied to. I am finding it hard to believe that Duffy knew the speed at which the train was coming in his direction. And now, in the ADA sandbox we have Poss & Wong, who will be used as pawns and will be also duped. Their lying and misrepresentations are chronic; it’s a disease.

      To my personal heroes, Dr. Wright, Dr. Noel, Dr. Chen & Dr. Murphy, thank you for helping rid us of the disease. We know it took a while to diagnose the patient, but the patient is so much better since you did. We salute you.

  5. RE: Duffy — I still like my self-destruction theory. It fits. He’s not really trying. He’s not filing his stuff on time. He doesn’t seem to care about the outcome. His past is littered with failures. His wife is more successful than him. He’s self-destructing and this (with alcohol) is his chosen weapon of self-annilhilation.

    RE: Youtube video. Fast forward to the 25-30 second mark and you’ll begin to see why its attached to the bottom of this article. The fact that the kid’s name is John makes it all the more perfect.

  6. Some site (madison newspaper??) had an update that the defendants were complaining that they hadn’t been paid yet and were asking for the three to be “held in contempt”. Gonna get interesting.

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