Prenda

Prenda’s Hansmeier asks court to deny motion for summary judgment because… opposing counsel buys Mercedes

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 former Prenda stooges, who are being surely consumed by slow wheels of justice these days.

However, today’s court filing was too good to skip.

Paul HansmeierPaul Hansmeier

Those who follow the Prenda schadenfreude know that one of the two Prenda’s masterminds — Paul Hansmeier — filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection last year. The case was converted to Chapter 7 in December, and it only went downhill from there.

Hansmeier was “lucky” to draw a Chapter 7 trustee famous for his ability to uncover assets that hapless bankruptcy cheaters futilely try to hide from creditors. As TwinCities.com aptly stated,

Note to anyone contemplating bankruptcy: Don’t get on the wrong side of the trustee handling your case, especially if that trustee is Randy Seaver.

Of course such a fraudster as Paul was destined to get on the wrong side of Mr. Seaver, who since filed two adversarial proceedings against Paul Hansmeier and his wife Padraigin Browne. In one of these cases, MND 16-04018, the trustee moved for partial summary judgement, asking the court to reduce the exemption claim.

Below is Paul’s response to this motion. I bet you won’t believe your eyes at first. In essence, Hansmeier argues that the trustee’s motion must be denied in part because… Randall Seaver allegedly “buys a new Mercedes Benz every Christmas Eve.” There is an embedded picture of an unknown origin that firmly seals this solid argument. Also, claiming (without any citations) that Seaver does not know the law, Hansmeier asks the court

to order [Trustee] to show cause why he and his related attorneys should not be sanctioned and disbarred from practice before the Court.

No less.

Enjoy:

Poll!
Hansmeier’s attorney doesn’t want to represent the debtor anymore

It is worth mentioning that on the same day Barbara May, an attorney who has been representing Hansmeier in the original bankruptcy case, moved to withdraw (emphasis added):

Barbara J. May, attorney for debtor hereby moves the Court for permission to withdraw as attorney of record for debtor on an exigent basis pursuant to Local Rule 9010-3(e)(2), and states in support the following: She is unable to discharge her duties as an officer of the court and meet the requirements of her client at the same time. Counsel’s conflict between her obligation to her client and her obligation of fairness and candor to the court and opposing counsel makes counsel’s withdrawal mandatory under the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct.

As a commenter below noted, on her website Barbara May claims:

I handle the bankruptcy and divorce cases most attorneys won’t touch.

Telling.

Related

Coverage

Updates

5/16/2016

Oops!

Today Hansmeier backpedaled and amended his opposition, which is basically the same, sans ad hominem attacks on Seaver:

The filing submitted by Hansmeier on May 13, 2016, was a non-final draft of his brief. Hansmeier apparently submitted the wrong brief when he sent the brief out for filing with the Court. Hansmeier apologizes to the Court and the parties to this case for submitting the non-final draft.

5/17/2016

Today the Trustee replied to both Hansmeier’s and his wife’s responses, thoroughly addressing their Law v. Siegel claim.

Hansmeier’s original response consists of an unverified document in which he asserts a personal attack on the trustee, and refers, in an offhand manner, to the case of Law v. Siegel, 134 S. Ct. 118 (2014). Apparently, he has never read the case, or has simply chosen to ignore the facts of that case and this case. Law v. Siegel has no bearing on this case. As will be seen by the following analysis, if any of the attorneys on the Hansmeier-Browne team had reviewed the facts and the law, they would know that the case of Law v. Siegel has no relevance to the issues before this Court.

As for the Hasnmeier’s childish attack, Seaver didn’t buy a lame “filed in error” explanation:

On May 16, 2015, Hansmeier filed a “corrected” opposition to the Trustee’s motion for partial summary judgment. Hansmeier’s corrected filing claims, in a footnote, that the May 13, 2016, objection was “a non-final draft of this brief” and that it was submitted in error. Hansmeier fails to address any of the baseless allegations in his “draft brief,” and his corrected brief only addresses his Law v. Siegel argument and omits his previous request for sanctions and disbarment of the trustee and his attorneys. Hansmeier claims the original filing was in error, despite the fact that Hansmeier printed and signed the document before having it hand delivered to the Court. It is highly unlikely that Hansmeier did not understand what he was filing given the length of the objection, its content, and the inclusion of a picture.

Later today, after a hearing, Judge Sanberg granted Barbara May’s motion to withdraw.

Featured comment

Zeno Elea (@ZenoPhyle):

When an attorney withdraws under because they can’t resolve a conflict between their duty to their client (e.g., privilege) and the court, it means their client is asking them to do something or intends to make statements that the attorney knows or believes to be false. For example, if the client informs the attorney that they intend to lie on the witness stand, the attorney’s only recourse is to withdraw for the reasons that May did, since knowingly allow the client to provide false testimony violates the attorney’s duty of candor to the court.

The language used in the the petition to withdraw is always telling of what happened. Here, May said “Counsel’s conflict between her obligation to her client and her obligation of fairness and candor to the court and opposing counsel makes counsel’s withdrawal mandatory under the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct.”

The RPC states:

“A lawyer ordinarily must decline or withdraw from representation if the client demands that the lawyer engage in conduct that is illegal or violates the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.”

Most, if not all, trial attorneys know exactly what May’s language means — her client is insisting on a course of action that is illegal or violates the RPC, thus mandating her withdrawal. More importantly, judges all know exactly what this means. This is so damning for Hansmeier that reading more into it is unnecessary.

5/18/2016

Judge Sanberg ordered to suppress the “Mercedes” motion from the public record.

I cut 8 minutes from the audio recording of yesterday’s hearing, where Trustee Seaver expresses his strong feelings about Hansmeier’s behavior, and Hansmeier tries to explain what happened. According to Paul, it was not him, but his non-lawyer brother Peter who picked a wrong draft from a shared dropbox folder, then printed, signed and hand-delivered the motion in question to the court. I don’t see any value in adding another poll asking whether you believe this excuse or not: this question is rhetorical.

As for the suppression of the document… no, I’m not going to remove it even if asked politely. Given the context, I don’t believe that publicizing it could even remotely embarrass Mr. Seaver. The only reputation that is at stake here is Hansmeier’s. And I don’t give two shits about it.

5/25/2016

It looks like all this bankruptcy business is the smallest of Hansmeier’s worries. As Popehat reported today (and I knew it for a while, but opted to wait), the FBI is actively calling defense attorneys about Prenda.

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Discussion

44 responses to ‘Prenda’s Hansmeier asks court to deny motion for summary judgment because… opposing counsel buys Mercedes

  1. I am but an old paralegal who has now hung up his boxing golves, and a disabled cop, vietnam vet, and all around old fart. BUT I can see the idiocy of this filing. Had I prepared a document for court such as this, I could expect to be fired upon the courts reply.

  2. So Hans say’s Seaver is a “vexatious litigant”, I laughed out loud at that one. Hans and the rest of the Prenda gang defined the term vexatious litigant and this filing just goes to prove that point.

    I have said this before and will say it again, I believe Hans thought he could file for bankruptcy it would be a quick in and out and he could avoid the sanction awards against him and that the court would swallow his “fully funded” plan Hans and May were pushing. The only problem was that no one was buying it, not either of the Trustees or the Judge.

    If you Looked at Hans fully funded plan and added up the sanctions and costs and the rest of Hans debts and then what money was supposedly in Hans fully funded plan, you would see the numbers don’t jive ( must be that Prenda type accounting ). So how is it fully funded? Not only that but who in their right mind would trust Hans to actually pay them especially when it’s due to costs awarded from one of the cases he is related to? I doubt anyone would trust it,

    I imagine when May saw this filing she flipped her wig and said ” Ok shit’s getting crazy, I’m out” cause why would she want to get her hand slapped by the court. Hans has done of wonderful job so far with his bankruptcy case which I ma sure is going to be part of some law school class on what to do when your client files for bankruptcy and wants to run the case themselves.

    Han and Browne are in the deep end of the pool on this and they are sinking. All this filing does is further show how desperate Hans is to save his skin.at all costs, I see the judge looking at this and rolling her eyes and stamping this denied as soon as she is finished laughing.

    • I don’t see a divorce resulting from this, unless it’s a legal facade to hide some of the money.

      Browne was hip-deep in the fraudulent activity. She made many trips to withdraw cash from the bank, and stacked it in the box in the closet. As an attorney, she knew that it was unquestionably illegal.

    • She doesn’t say that she handles the bankruptcy and divorce cases sane attorneys won’t touch, merely those most attorneys won’t touch.

      And in fact, her withdrawal notice didn’t state that she wasn’t willing to handle the case, merely that she was not going to be complicit in mishandling the case.

      The usual problem with bankruptcy cases attorneys won’t touch is that there does not appear enough money left to pay off the attorney reliably.

      The problem with this case, in contrast, very much appears to be that there is more money than an attorney in a bankruptcy case could legally or responsibly handle.

  3. OK. The 2016 “PEEA” (Prenda Equine Excrement Award) goes to Paul Hamnsmeier and wife – http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/prenda-law-equine-excrement-award-if-it-looks-smells-like-horse-shit-it-is-horse-shit-putting-sugar-on-it-doesnt-make-it-a-brownie-22c14
    In what sad mental state did Hans think it was a good (or even partially rational) to file that document. I can only guess he is going to have his wife claim he is bat-shit crazy and ride some sort of insanity defense. In reality, I think it is just Hans believe his own lies and BS and thinking he is better than everyone else. I previously gave him credit for being smart enough to keep his mouth shut and let “idiot” John Steele garner all the bad attention. I guess the tides have turned and now Hans needs to play the fool. “Hey John Steele,” better watch out because Hans is digging a hole so deep that he may try to take you down with him when the reality of the situation kicks him in the junk.

    OK, and what recent Supreme Court law decision is Hans referring to in his filing? Claims it is in direct conflict with trustees’ action. I guess he forget to actually cite a source/decision??? What a tool. OR maybe he was trying Jedi mind trick…

    AND how dare he claim he is an “Honest , but unfortunate” MN debtor! I would stand too close to Hans for fear of a lightning bolt striking him.

    Karma Baby!

    DTD 🙂

    • He did site “Law v. Siegel, 134 S. Ct. 1188 – Supreme Court 2014”. I haven’t looked at the motion he is objecting to, so if it is on point or not I can’t say.

      • It is vaguely relevant, although since I am not an attorney and haven’t correlated it with the precise aspect of the case he is objecting to, I cannot precisely say. Basically, this ruling says that a bankruptcy court cannot reduce the debtor’s “homestead exemption” by administrative costs for any misconduct that the debtor caused. So, the bankruptcy court cannot say to Hansmeier, “OK, you homestead exemption is $125K, but you have caused so much extra work for the trustee, that I am docking you $75K and only giving you $50K.” That is what the Supreme Court prohibited. (However, since he has chosen the Minnesota homestead exemption, if MINNESOTA state law says that the bankruptcy judge can do that, then it is permitted.) So to summarize, it only applies to the “homestead exemption”, and it only applies to taxing the “administrative costs of the trustee.”

        Now, I am not sure exactly where his motion comes into play. If it is related to Brown, it is completely irrelevant because she has not declared bankruptcy and therefore there is no “homestead exemption” and fees can be taken from her share of the property. Also, I believe the costs he complains about are not actually “administrative fees” but actually the debts he incurred (without the court’s permission) to sell the property. Again, not exactly what the Supreme Court is talking about.

        I am willing to bet that he did a quick search, found a case that is vaguely relevant, and is citing it when in fact the details of the decision and his case mean that it is irrelevant.

        The really interesting part is that the last section of the ruling specifically emphasizes the sanctions that the Bankruptcy Court can impose on a debtor who is dishonest or misbehaves. If I was Hansmeier, I would not be reminding the judge about that.

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong – so in a nutshell, Hansmeier is claiming that overwhelming affluence and spending power is grounds for disqualifying legal counsel?

    Gee, someone should’ve brought it up when Steele was doing the Forbes interview…

  5. When an attorney withdraws under because they can’t resolve a conflict between their duty to their client (e.g., privilege) and the court, it means their client is asking them to do something or intends to make statements that the attorney knows or believes to be false. For example, if the client informs the attorney that they intend to lie on the witness stand, the attorney’s only recourse is to withdraw for the reasons that May did, since knowingly allow the client to provide false testimony violates the attorney’s duty of candor to the court.

    The language used in the the petition to withdraw is always telling of what happened. Here, May said “Counsel’s conflict between her obligation to her client and her obligation of fairness and candor to the court and opposing counsel makes counsel’s withdrawal mandatory under the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct.”

    The RPC states:

    “A lawyer ordinarily must decline or withdraw from representation if the client demands that the lawyer engage in conduct that is illegal or violates the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.”

    Most, if not all, trial attorneys know exactly what May’s language means — her client is insisting on a course of action that is illegal or violates the RPC, thus mandating her withdrawal. More importantly, judges all know exactly what this means. This is so damning for Hansmeier that reading more into it is unnecessary.

  6. Well, see the “mercedes” motion on Friday, its attempted withdrawal, and Seaver’s response…(“Judge, he’s full of garbage!”). I think even Barbara May saw the handwriting on the wall!

    Recall earlier judges: “Willing to lie relentlessly to this court on the record, both on paper and in person, even after having been put on notice…” I don’t think that will ever stop, even from a room with one wall made of metal bars, but if I’m wrong, I owe SJD her choice of beverage!

  7. What does it take to be disbarred, or at least suspended?

    Hansmeier is still running his ADA shakedown scheme. This is over three years after Prenda was revealed as a fraud, with Paul and his brother Peter directly involved.

    • The wheels of justice grind slowly, depending on your status. It is in the works, but will probably be at least a year before anything actually happens. Note that in MN, it took over 3 months for the “Lawyer’s Office of Professional Responsibility” to request the appointment of a referee to do the first evaluation of the case. That probably could/should have been done within 15 minutes of Hansmeier filing his response.

  8. With Ms. May’s withdrawal being approved, the question is will she now become one of claimants against the estate?

    • An interesting question, but I don’t believe so. Lawyers always make sure they get paid. So an attorney in a bankruptcy case is basically the only person who is assured of getting reimbursed in full.

  9. I know I’m sometimes the voice of reason (stop laughing, its memorialized on a docket somewhere) but this time I see no point to honoring the Judges wishes here.
    The genie is out of the bottle.

    • *THAT* anonymous coward, you usually make us giggle!
      Now, for anyone knowing anything at all about Hansmeier, the mercedes motion says more about Paul Hansmeier than it does about Randall Seaver, known bulldog US Trustee. I expect those nice cars are very small potatoes compared to the service you are doing removing an extortionist from our midst.

      • As the car was not even close to what was claimed in the document, it just supports the idea that Hans has a problem with the truth in court.
        IIRC Hans was involved in the freak out when an unredacted doc made it onto PACER and we were discussing if we should post it, and they pointed out me discussing it as proof bad people had it… and the reply from the good lawyers was the rest of my comment that we should respect the courts wishes because that doc would be troublesome.

        We want to see the trolls fall, we just refuse to sink to their methods to hasten their descent.

  10. Man, just when I thought the whole Prenda saga was winding down and nothing was going to happen to any of these guys I realize I need to add a box of popcorn to my grocery list.

    After reading a little about bankruptcy trustee Randy Seaver, I have a feeling Paul and Padraigin are truly fucked. I sincerely hope there is a criminal indictment for bankruptcy fraud for both of them.

    Now, if only we could get a little action going on the John Steele side of things…

  11. Mr. Seaver, I doubt you will see this… maybe you will.
    We applaud your actions and ethics in this case, and are actually quite shocked Hans lost his damn mind this this degree and filed that crap.
    This isn’t the first time he’s filed crap like this in a Federal Case, and behaved poorly towards opposing lawyers. His answers to the Judge should be believed about as much a story about shoebox full of cash that magically appeared one day and no one knows where it went.
    You’re laying bear the deceit and lies that ooze from this toad, and inflicting a small fraction of the harm he caused thousands of innocent across the nation. There will probably never be money to make them whole (which is a pity) but at least they can have the satisfaction of him getting what he deserves for a life lead poorly at the expense of innocents.

  12. Betcha you’re going to get a DMCA from Hansy.
    Nothing like irritating not only your adversary, the trustee, but also the judge who decides your bankruptcy case. I hope they do the Danny Deever on him. Financially, only, of course.

    • Fair Use, the document is supplied to give context to the story written about it.
      Given what happened the last time Team Prenda took on Automatic I expect silence.

  13. So I take it if Peter is working for his brother now, his highly legitimate Bit-Torrent investigating company that had no connection to Prenda other than they shared some (ALL) of the same (Phony) Clients, must have has a downturn as well. /Sarc

  14. Listening to the hearing where Barbara May withdraws, it sounds like she’s about to cry. Seems genuinely upset, like it’s her personal failure that she couldn’t get Hansy to behave.

  15. Echoing the last paragraph of the main post, the part that surprises me in the recording is that Mr Seaver was the one who wanted the filing suppressed. I don’t see it being remotely embarrassing to him. A lawyer drives a Mercedes? Who woulda thunk it?

    If I was Seaver, I would want it publicized as much as possible to show Hansmeier’s true character. Again, I don’t see how it can reasonably be seen to be a slight on him.

    Now, for those who know more about such things, could this result in a Sixth Count and another amended petition from the MN Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility? The judge seemed to be fairly shocked by his claim that he allowed his (non-attorney) brother to sign and file the motion. I know it would not be forgery (even assuming the incredible claim that his brother did sign it) since it was (supposedly) done with his permission. However, it would seem that there would be fairly strict rules about allowing a (non-attorney) staff member to sign for an attorney. And as the handbook on MN attorney discipline says, often seeming trivial “cut and dry” violations can result in larger sanctions than more significant equivocal violations.

    Hansmeier has demonstrated an amazing talent to say something to try to worm out of a “$100 problem” and have it end up with him facing a “$100,000 problem.” Who knows? This might be another example.

    • I have two theories here (which are not mutually exclusive):

      1. According to the TwinCities.com article linked above,

      Seaver prefers to avoid the spotlight, rarely appearing in court and, until now, never speaking to the media. He agreed to talk with the Pioneer Press to shed light on his work as a bankruptcy trustee, but he made it clear his personal life was off limits.

      I.e., he looks like a very private person, and any publicity — bad or good — upsets people of his kind.

      2. Proof from contradiction: would you expect him to say “let’s leave this document there for everyone to see how bad Hansmeier is”? It would be stooping down Paul’s level. Of course he couldn’t say that.

      So, while it maybe uncomfortable for him to be in the spotlight, I’m sure he understands that his reputation is safe and that readers actually admire him and his work.

  16. Regarding Hansmeier’s “corrected” motion:

    Big league attorneys rarely sign hand-delivered documents themselves, but when they do, they always sign electronically:

  17. hey there, the copy of judges order turning over 10K to debtor has someone’s username attached to the title of the webpage!

  18. I don’t know what the norm is for signing a legal document by someone other then the lawyer who wrote and filed it; many, if not most items in the workplace, if you sign for someone with permission you add your initials. i.e. John Doe, mmj Back in the days of typing a letter the person typing it, if not the “speaker” of the letter, would put their initials at the bottom of the letter under where the cc; was located. i.e. cc: John Smith
    mmj
    When you are referring to a LEGAL doc/filing – there must be some rules or standard that is supposed to be followed, but I am not in that profession and have no clue. Going back to Gibbs saying he had no idea things were being sent from him without permission is an example of inappropriate use. It would seem that filing a legal document without knowing it wasn’t the attorney himself signing, that some form of showing who signed for them would be crucial if a legal issue was questioned and the lawyer then said – I ever signed or filed that legal document. ( Kind of like what happened).
    Maybe a paralegal could better answer this question of who signs and how noted if at all.
    I just find it strange that the signature standard of one person signing another’s name would be less for legal docs then for a letter from a boss to a vendor,etc.
    Another question. With the trustee, trustee’s lawyers, DOJ and DOJ lawyers in a bankruptcy, is the debtor(s) on the hook for their fees and costs also?
    Just wonderin’!

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