ADA attorney handed first loss in court

Times are getting tough for Paul Hansmeier, a notorious attorney who has filed hundreds of allegedly frivolous lawsuits under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  Hansmeier has declared bankruptcy, the Lawyers for Professional Responsibility is investigating whether it should revoke his law license for misconduct, and now, he was just handed his first loss in court under the ADA. 

Most of the clients who had been sued settled for a few thousand dollars to avoid costly litigation.  But Heartwood Enterprises, LLC, a business at 889 Grand Avenue in St. Paul, decided to fight back. 

On Wednesday, Federal Judge Paul Magnuson ruled in favored of Heartwood Enterprises, also ordering Hansmeier to pay their attorney fees. 

The case involved a front and back porch that Hansmeier and a group he represents, The Disability Support Alliance, claims is an impediment to access.  Under ADA a business must make changes that would allow the disabled access if those changes are “readily achievable.”  The law does not specifically define “readily achievable.”  Heartwood Enterprises a ramp would cost $100,000, and said they had arranged meetings off-site with clients with disabilities. 

As the FOX 9 Investigators revealed last October, many of the businesses sued by Hansmeier believe they are victims of “legal extortion.”  That Hansmeier sues businesses before they have time to make changes and pressures them into a quickly settlement to avoid costly litigation. 

The Minnesota Lawyers for Professional Responsibility is currently investigating Hansmeier for his roll in a “copyright trolling” businesses that sued individuals who downloaded internet pornography.