To the readers of my documentary books;
To all who support truth and justice;
To all who advocate the Rule of Law;
To all who will move forward from the inadequacy or pretense of protecting the U.S. Constitution;
To all who can look back at their lives and say, “I earned my living with morality, grace and honesty, skills and competence. I am proud and deserve to live in America;”
To clients, loved ones and friends all over the world.
I love you all!
Greetings! Aloha! Mabuhay!
Author-Attorney Erlinda Dominguez
About Twice Upon a Court—first published book by the author,
a true story.
Finally, but not the least:
—I love you all, The Author
In a few weeks, there was an urgent message on my desk. It was from Warren Price.
“Have you heard about the China Airlines disaster in Japan?” he asked.
“Yes, it’s all over in the news, but I’m not familiar with the details.”
“We should sign up all the Filipino clients.”
My mind was racing. They want me to be the bait.
“Warren, the clients are Filipino. They never set foot in Hawaii. The accident happened in Japan, the Airline is foreign. How in the world can we get U.S. federal jurisdiction here?”
I could hear his subtle laugh. It seemed he was on the loudspeaker and had people in his room.
“Don’t worry, kiddo. We will do all the work.”
That’s real power, and I still don’t know how and what it means, I thought to myself.
Ken Okamoto of Pohl and my manager, Mila, traveled to the Philippines. Flor Martinez went with them. He was my close friend who worked at the Philippine Consulate in Hawaii.
I provided them with the names and numbers of my friends in high esteem in the Philippine government who might be of help.
They brought a bunch of my business cards and the Philippine magazines where my Honolulu office was profiled.
One week in Manila—with first class hotels and accommodations—was expensive. But it paid off. They were one hundred percent successful.
Ken signed up each and every possible client, from serious injuries to wrongful deaths, all Filipinos, right in their hometown—in the Philippines.
I, a Hawaii lawyer, was actually retained as an attorney for people I never met. They just heard of me and saw my face in the Philippine magazines.
“Is this really ethical, Ken?” I asked upon their arrival in Honolulu.
“Of course, it is. We are only helping the unfortunate.”
The following morning, I dropped by my attorneys' office to bring research materials. I had no intention of staying. But Roy came out of his room and said, "Hi, there." He seemed to be in a good mood.
"May I see you in your room, Roy? Just one minute of your time, please?"
"Of course. Come in. What's up?"
He pressed his intercom and called for Harvey to join us. It was no longer strange. Both had to be present when I was their audience. I convinced myself it was for their convenience, so that one did not have to repeat to the other what was discussed.
A question crossed my mind. "Is this the kind of news that my attorneys should know?"
I preferred to be safe than sorry.
It was rather embarrassing. Neiman Marcus, store sales, shopping sprees, perfume and so on, could hardly be the topics in a serious case. But I had to tell them. They had to know.
I explained what happened. I was hoping their answer would put my mind at ease.
"You see...Sharon did not wish to speak to me in Neiman Marcus. I'm positive she saw and heard me. Did anything happen that I should know about?"
"The problem, Erlinda, is you ruffle feathers," said Roy.
"I'm not totally sure of what you mean. I don't speak your language with precision," I said.
"What Roy means is you irritate people," said Harvey. I could not tell if he was smiling or sneering.
"I irritate people?"
"Pohl is upset."
"Oh, you mean Pohl, not people. What about?"
"About your discovered hidden treasures," said Roy.
I knew that they had shown the records that I found to Sharon. They must have hand-carried them to Pohl's office. It was in the next building, just a few steps away.
"I discovered proof of their involvement, Roy. Who would expect a problem like this after a decade?"
I read the transcript when it arrived. Roy and Harvey were not lying. After long debates among the attorneys about the Hague Treaty and the Japanese foreign laws, the judge ruled in a short single paragraph which read verbatim:
THE COURT: "I have to confess. I'm sort of shooting from the hip in trying to respond to your question about when and how do you want the Court to decide on the law, I guess. But I would encourage you to file an early motion in limine."
Although I had a good idea, I later asked Harvey what the American slang of shooting from the hip meant exactly, in relation to the serious court proceedings-words I never saw in the law books, or heard in a courtroom.
He explained-it was a cowboy shooting wildly without any target, in this case, the issues.
"Harvey, with all due respect to the court, instead of guessing as she admitted, the judge seemed determined to have the jury interpret the Hague treaty and the Japanese laws, which is not their role to do. She was already talking of motion in limine-the procedure to sort out the proper evidence shown to the jury. Why?"
"I have no explanation, Erlinda. We can't force judges to do what we want even with tons of research. Our role is limited."
My worry was overwhelming. I had to bring up my deep concerns with my attorneys.
"Was the judge actually sending us a message that a different judge should take over? It would be too burdensome for her if she never encountered this kind of problem before. Who knows, this had always been what she wanted-to get out of the case. That would be fair to her and to everybody."
"We don't think so. If we said something, it will also be a guess. It will lead us nowhere. We think that you're being repetitious and you are appearing more ridiculous."
As I walked away from their office, I just said softly, "You don't have to raise your voice. Your services are not free. I have been paying you big time!"
* * *
I had hardly seated myself comfortably when Roy began to talk. "Erlinda, be prepared for what we are to tell you!"
"We filed our Motions in Limine early as Judge Marks suggested-to guide her on how to rule on the Hague Treaty and the Japanese laws. But she ruled the same way, all those legal questions will go to the jury," said Roy.
"And the judge has admitted into evidence bulks of papers that will assure the opponents' winning without supporting live witnesses," added Harvey. "She will continue to admit just papers."
"What do you mean bulks of papers?"
"Just papers. Papers that the judge did not screen. They will be the opponents' evidence."
Harvey looked angrier as he continued to explain.
"Why is this happening to you, Erlinda?" asked Mila.
"I wish I knew."
"Why not Pohl instead of you? They took over your office and managed the cases."
Mila did not know about Pohl's tolling agreement that left me to be sued alone. She had no idea that Roy and Harvey refused to involve Pohl for me.
"My law office had been the front line, Mila. As you know, Pohl used my name, Law Offices of Erlinda Dominguez. I am sued alone. But you are right. They should be here instead of me. At the very least, they should help me."
Portion of the transcript of the oral deposition of Warren Price on January 17, 2006, reads, verbatim:
Q. (Ms. Dominguez) …You did say allegedly that I am crazy. Erlinda is crazy.
A. I have no recollection of saying that.
Q. Okay. And according to O’Brien, that you said that I am very confrontational.
A. I have no recollection of saying that.
Q. And that according to Mr. O’Brien, that I, Erlinda Dominguez, tend to lay the blame on people, something like that.
A. I have no recollection of saying that.
Q. Are you capable of saying those things?
A. You ask me to speculate.
Q. Well, you know yourself, so—
A. Am I capable of saying what things about what people? I mean, you’re asking me to speculate about could I say something about someone generally?
Q. Well, about me, Mr. Price. Would you be—knowing what I am, okay? Do you think you would be capable of saying that Erlinda Dominguez is crazy to somebody?
A. Be capable of saying that?
A. I—I can’t answer that question.
Q. I mean, not physically, not physically. But you think you—
A. You’re asking me to guess. You’re asking me for at some point in time what my state of mind might have articulated something in my state of mind. I’m not going to guess.
I’ve answered your questions. I have no recollection of telling Mr. O’Brien any of those things that you just asked me about.
Q. Do you think I’m crazy?
A. You want me to answer that question? That’s an improper question.
I pursued my questioning on the point, and McCorriston instructed Warren not to answer. I realized how really angry I was at O’Brien’s description of me and I was afraid it showed.
The testimony was not bad. I felt some relief with the I don’t remembers of Warren.
Any admission that I was crazy would have been devastating to me and even to Pohl—for having had me for an insane partner.