Winter, spring, summer and fall rolled over quickly. Californian pace of life was much faster.
Friends insisted, “Do something. Will you just forgive what your lawyers Roy Chang and Harvey did to you? They can walk away with their fatal mistakes and ultimate betrayal like a glorified vicious murder?”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. district court for Hawaii, otherwise known as a federal court. My legal enemies would call me stupid if I sued in the Hawaii state courts. That was where my personal lawsuits caused havoc.
My lawsuit against my previous attorneys for their malpractice was assigned to Judge Barry Kurren of the federal district court for the State of Hawaii.
Defendants Roy and Harvey were represented by the McCorriston law firm—the same attorneys for Price Okamoto Himeno & Lum when I sued that law firm they called Pohl for short. It was so predictable—familiar names and faces, and identical highly political people would be involved as Roy’s witnesses and supporters.
As I predicted, they immediately asked Judge Kurren to stop me from going forward and to dismiss my entire lawsuit.
They claimed that under the Hawaii statutes of limitations allowing six years from accrual of the malpractice, my lawsuit against them was filed late, time-barred, and immediately dismissible.
Written arguments were filed. They were thick with legal authorities and volumes of exhibits that were so clear. Federal Judge Kurren must have read them all. He earned the reputation of being competent and judicious.
The hearing day approached! It would be an opportune time to socialize. Perhaps, meet with some previous clients. Many were still in contact with me as a few years passed by. I travelled to Hawaii with friends.
We would make up for lost time—go to the luaus, hulas, buy trinkets at the Waikiki international market, frolic on the Kuhio beach and watch the sunset. We were not Kamaainas anymore but Hawaii tourists.
We strolled along the Kalakaua sidewalks, and lost ourselves among the crowds. People were dancing the hula with the sound of the ukulele. They had leis around their necks and flowers on their hair.
In minutes, Judge Kurren entered the courtroom. He appeared so professional and judicious. He looked almost the same as when several years ago, I proudly took my oath of allegiance for U.S. citizenship among a large crowd chasing the American dream.
We all stood up, and the calendar was called.
I entered my appearance as my own attorney pro se for myself, the plaintiff. So did McCorriston and Mansfield—as the attorneys for defendants Roy Chang and Harvey Demetrakopoulos.
Judge Kurren asked if we would go through full oral argument. That had always been my preference for my clients. I should do the same for me. I was not content with simply submitting my written briefs for the judge to read—the style of defendants Roy and Harvey when they were my lawyers.
The arguments would be lengthy. That was expected. I was more than prepared. And the defendants’ lawyers appeared ready likewise. They would assist each other.
Judge Kurren intently listened to both sides. His comments and questions made so much sense. He understood the issues and the laws. The exhibits were clear. Mathematical computation was basic. There was a clear judicial map to follow. I didn’t feel like I was talking to a brick as when I was representing myself in the state courts. And there was no fear of prejudgment.
Then, Judge Kurren agreed with my arguments. He allowed me to amend my complaint to include all the malpractice mistakes of the defendants. He confirmed that I had a continuing attorney-client relationship with Roy and Harvey within the six years before I sued them. That was easy to see from their written withdrawals in Judge Marks’ court and then in the Supreme Court. My lawsuit was not late, dismissal was denied, and a jury trial was ordered.
The proceeding was over. I looked at Judge Kurren with a silent message. “Thank you, Your Honor, for your competence and morality. Hawaii needs more judges like you. Good luck to this beautiful island!”
At last, a jury would know what my legal enemies could kill for—a permanent cover-up of immoralities including defendants’ mistakes and betrayals against me and perhaps, everything that happened in the state courts.
The original mystery would also be solved—if the uncontested federal judgment I failed to collect for the clients who sued me was actually collected in Japan without my knowledge.
And who had enriched their pockets with such a dastardly act while I went through hell?
That almost half a million default judgment was the root of all the evil—hurt, humiliation, devastation—that I had gone through in the hands of my legal enemies in the Hawaii state courts. My noble intention to do something for the clients inside the United States was treacherously used against me.
Now, the jury and the public would know all the truth. And they would judge me—if I was really expletive, invective and uncivil as the Hawaii Supreme Court said—or I was just fighting for my rights against my powerful political opponents.
“Thank you, Judge Kurren, thank you.”
My Hawaii trip was quick. It was nostalgic and fun to see acquaintances and join the tourists on the beach. Then, my group had to leave.
“Aloha oe, Hawaii, till we meet again.”
Back to California.
Within days, hardly had I unpacked my briefcase when I received another set of motion from McCorriston. He was again seeking dismissal of my lawsuit by a Motion to Dismiss my amended complaint that Judge Kurren ordered to proceed.
McCorriston wanted all of Judge Kurren’s orders to be stricken and set aside completely—meaning, there would never be a jury trial, my entire lawsuit would be put to sleep and forgotten. He didn’t move for reconsideration before Judge Kurren as was the usual procedure. Instead, he sought another judge.
Something was happening. It couldn’t be right. My lawsuit was pulled away from Judge Kurren and found its way to another federal judge—Susan Oki Mollway.
History was repeating itself. I recalled the hurtful events in the Hawaii state courts. The malpractice case against me was suddenly removed from an unbiased judge and transferred to Judge Marks—the wife of a partner of Pohl, the law firm that I sued. Then, my lawsuit against Pohl was reassigned to Judge Hifo, their close friend and an employee in Roy Chang’s law firm before she became a judge.
I had no say in all those assignments. Lawyers, except perhaps a chosen few, didn’t know how the Hawaii court system chose judges to preside in cases.
I reached the courtroom of Judge Mollway. It was minutes before the hearing. Mansfield was seated at the counsel’s desk. We exchanged greetings. McCorriston was not around. I wondered why. Perhaps, his firm was preparing their interlocutory appeal for failing to have my lawsuit dismissed.
Mansfield looked relaxed, simply waiting for the judge. He was not flipping through his records as he used to do. He behaved as if he knew that the hearing would be too short. Judge Mollway would just say that Judge Kurren already decided. Then, she would deny defendants’ second Motion to Dismiss. We could be out of the courtroom in a matter of seconds.
In a few minutes, Judge Mollway entered her court and the proceedings began. She wanted to discuss her written unofficial decision. Her decision? What decision? Was I missing something?
The transcript of that hearing shows verbatim, word for word, the following:
“THE COURT (Judge Mollway): So now we’re looking at the merits of the motion. And I gave you an inclination. Did you see that, both sides?”
DOMINGUEZ: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Oh, dear. Okay. Hold on, then.
MANSFIELD: Your Honor, I brought an extra copy.
THE COURT: Can you give that to her—
Mansfield appeared to know that I never saw a copy. And Judge Mollway seemed unaware that I was no longer in active practice in Hawaii, had no electronic service, and was travelling from California. But her lack of knowledge should not happen.
Courts were organized and fully staffed. They would be extremely careful that all parties were adequately informed, especially where huge damages were involved and a party was travelling from another state. Undue surprises could favor one side and may cause irreversible damage to the other. That would be terribly unjust.
I could have received the decision by ordinary U.S. mail in a couple of days. But none was sent.
All eyes were fixed on me while I hurriedly flipped through the document. The judge, the clerks, defendants Roy Chang and Harvey Demetrakopoulos, along with their multitude of lawyers already knew what I did not know.
It took me seconds to browse through the pages to realize what it contained. Judge Mollway was dismissing my case against Roy Chang and Harvey Demetrakopoulos!
Another ugly nightmare was happening inside a courtroom, America’s Hall of Justice. The extreme injustices that I went through in the Hawaii state courts seemed to quickly reappear.
I thought, “This new judge before me, Mollway, is changing the final order of Judge Kurren! Does she believe that Judge Kurren’s time and efforts meant nothing? By what rule could she supervise the decision of Judge Kurren? What is it that I was severely missing in an American Hall of Justice?”
A portion of the hearing transcript shows verbatim the following, word for word:
“THE COURT (Judge Mollway): And then I have a discussion about, okay, what if your claims are not time-barred. And I’m thinking that even if they’re not time barred…I’m not sure that that was malpractice on their part. And so I’m concerned that there isn’t a basis for going forward.”
I thought, “She’s killing my huge constitutional right to be judged by a jury. She’s already guessing what would happen in the future. That’s not how courts should think and decide!”
I felt the overwhelming injustice. Especially when my destruction began in the court of Judge Victoria Marks who was the wife of the recent Hawaii State Attorney General Robert Marks—a partner of the Pohl law firm that I had sued. And I would find out after everything was over that Supreme Court Justice Steven Levinson who dismissed my appeal, was the business and law partner of Francis T. O’Brien, the main attorney who sued me to collect a federal void judgment—by then almost quadrupled by the judge, Mrs. Marks!
Mollway disagreed. She insisted that the defendants’ motion before her was different because it was based on a different rule and the titles of the two motions were not the same. And Judge kurren used a different standard.
What was in the judge’s standard or the name that defendants called their new motion? The written arguments, exhibits, issues and everything were the same—defendants asked Judge Kurren to prohibit me from filing my amended complaint and to dismiss my case. Their motion was denied. Now, they’re asking Judge Mollway to strike my amended complaint that Judge Kurren allowed, and to dismiss my case.
Where was the difference? One motion just repeated then followed the other. Common sense. But Judge Mollway didn’t see it that way.
The judge was impatient. She thought that I was arguing too much. She ordered me to stop. The transcript shows verbatim, word for word, how the hearing finally concluded:
“MS. DOMINGUEZ : Your Honor, please, if I may say in just a very brief —
THE COURT: One minute. One minute only. One minute really. Okay.”
I hurried to protect the records for my appeal.
Regardless of what the judge said—that she would take the matter under advisement, meaning, further study the case—I knew that she made up her mind even before I arrived in Honolulu. All she had to do was sign and seal her official decision—Case dismissed!
The proceeding came to an end. I thought, “One more time, my legal enemies succeeded in distorting the facts and the literal wordings of the rules and the laws. They were deathly fearful that the ugly truths would be made available to a jury and the public.”
Mansfield was discreetly smiling. He was as relaxed as when I entered the courtroom. He didn’t have to lift a finger to get what he wanted.
I glanced at the court staff and nodded. Nobody was saying a word, then I left the courtroom.
One day, I was shown a March 2015 article about Hawaii federal Judge Susan Mollway who dismissed my case against my previous lawyers. The internet version was partly titled “Yet, another corrupt judge…?”
The news was about an urgent lawsuit to stop wealthy companies from causing toxic air pollution in Maui, Hawaii. It claimed that Judge Mollway abused her powers by postponing a much awaited hearing while people were continuously poisoned.
Another said, “Judge Mollway is corrupted, she used her position to provide a favor…but Mollway did not care, she is the most corrupted judge…I can provide you with documentary evidences that Mollway is corrupted.”
Still, another news item questioned her patriotism or treachery to the United States in the context of her judicial role.
I could not attest to the truth of the contents of all the news I read. But I felt the helplessness of those litigants. If the system could cause harm to an entire Maui community in favor of wealthy powerful groups, how much more could it do to a solitary litigant like me?