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Prenda Law Attorney May Lose His License
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Hansmeier and Steele

Summary: Paul Hansmeier is facing suspension or disbarment for his role in the twisted Prenda Law scheme that sought to sue hundreds of people for downloading porn videos.

Nearly three years since the Prenda Law scheme started to unravel, one of the masterminds may now also lose his license. Paul Hansmeier’s license is being reviewed by the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility on his conduct from four separate legal cases.


Hansmeier plotted with his colleague John Steele to acquire porn copyrights and then sue thousands of people for downloading them. It is estimated that they made millions of the scheme until the truth started to become exposed.

The first case was Guava LLC v. Merkel. The company Guava sued Spencer Merkel from Minnesota for downloading a porn movie. Merkel admitted that the lawsuit was a set-up, resulting in a large fine against Guava, which Hansmeier’s law firm Alpha represented.

To avoid paying the fine, Alpha went under despite proof that Hansmeier’s other company Monyet LLC financed the firm. Hansmeier claimed he knew nothing of the hundreds of thousands of dollars being shifted around through Monyet LLC. The court saw through this and held him responsible for the original Guava v. Merkel debt. He then filed for bankruptcy.

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Hansmeier is also being reviewed for giving false statements and evading fee orders in the case Lightspeed Media v. Smith. In this case, Prenda got bold and brought AT&T and Comcast into its complaint because they weren’t delivering user information fast enough. Hansmeier was eventually found in contempt for making the false statements about the company and for his inability to pay.

The third case, Ingenuity 13 LLC v. John Doe, took down Prenda. U.S. District Judge Otis Wright had a few choice words for Hansmeier and his accomplices as well as their attorney, calling Hansmeier, Steele, and associate Duffy, “attorneys with shattered law practices, seeking easy money” that “suffer from a form of moral turpitude unbecoming an officer of the court.”

The final case being held against Hansmeier is AF Holdings v. Joe Navasca. In this case, Hansmeier is accused of making additional false statements, bringing a frivolous claim, and committing a fraud upon the court.


Hansmeier Photo:

Steele Phote:


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