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Monday, March 12, 2018

New Hampshire Woman Takes on Oklahoma Corruption

By  Michael Volpe and Tanya Hathaway

A lawyer forcefully negotiated with a pro se litigant while she was having a panic attack.
That shocking interaction was caught on tape during a 2015 divorce hearing in Tulsa County, Oklahoma between John Doe and Tanya Hathaway.
Michon Hughes, now of Clinton C. Hastings and Michon Hastings Hughes, Doe’s attorney, presented a settlement offer to Hathaway, who was representing herself, while Hathaway was in the middle of a panic attack.
Later in the same hearing, the Special Judge, J. Anthony Miller, proceeded with the hearing, even after being told by Hathaway that she’d taken a prescription drug to  help halt the attack which made her unable to contribute to her defense.
The disturbing set of events is part of a near four-year divorce process for a six-month marriage.
                                                                             (Tanya Hathaway)

 A Six-Month Marriage

John Doe and Tanya Hathaway met online and after a short courtship they married on November 27, 2013.  
At the time, Hathaway lived in a home she built in 2001 in Newbury, New Hampshire, with her two sons. Hathaway and Doe  decided to buy in a home in nearby Springfield, New Hampshire.
While the money to purchase the house came from Doe, the purchase and sale agreement was in both their names, and Hathaway paid at least that much for repairs they’d planned to make upon buying the property.
Right before the closing, Doe told Hathaway that he needed to keep her off the deed for taxes purposes but would put her back on shortly after they got married; Doe, however, never put Hathaway on the deed.  
The house closed in September 2013.
Several weeks after the property closed, Hathaway, Doe, and her two sons spent the day moving personal effects and furniture from her Newbury home.
They were to spend their first night in the marital home. And they did. 
Doe remembers it differently saying in an email: “After I took title from the accommodator, she (Hathaway) moved into the house without my permission before we were married.” Doe said in an email, but he did not explain where he and his new wife were living, if not in this property.
In a letter to his mother, he also presented the home as his and Hathaway’s:The plan is simple there is no need to carry 3 houses. Tanya is selling hers and will get out from underneath the bills and mortgage on her own. I am not helping her on any of her expenses on that. She will stay in Philbrick (the disputed property) for now and keep it winterized.” 
Doe spent the semester working at Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma and commuted back and forth.
Unbeknownst to Hathaway, Doe was carrying on inappropriate in an relationship with at least one other woman before and during the marriage.
On March 19, 2014, upon discovering evidence of betraying their marriage, Hathaway asked Doe to leave. 
They reconciled shortly after and Doe sold his Oklahoma home in May, but the marriage fell apart for good in late June.

Leads to a Four-Year Divorce

On July 3, 2014, with process servers in hot pursuit to serve him with divorce, Doe served Hathaway for divorce in Oklahoma.
Hathaway’s immediately filed  in New Hampshire- but he fled, nowhere to be found and couldn't be properly serve him. 
in New Hampshire the law would have treated their home as marital property and even split is presumed, while in Oklahoma the home would have been treated as his because he bought it before the marriage.
Doe  seemed to know this when he emailed Hathaway’s sister suggesting they just sell the house and split the money. That was until he realized that hand served divorce papers were not allowed in New Hampshire. Doe had hired Michon Hughes, a powerful figure in Tulsa’s legal community; Hughes and Doe had worked together on mock trials while he taught at Oral Roberts University.Doe is a lawyer.
Many attorneys refused to take Hathaway’s case after it unfolded; as a result, Hathaway was forced to represent herself for much of the affair, and when she had representation, the attorney generally worked against her interests.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
The Bogus Notary

The initial petition filed by Hughes on Doe’s behalf appears to not have properly been notarized. The lawsuit was notarized by Hughes, not a third party, and it later came out that the petition had been emailed back and forth between Doe and Hughes, and as such, she hadn’t witnessed his signature.
Grey was an attorney working for Hughes firm at the time; he acted as a go-between emailing the document back and forth from Doe to Hughes with Hughes notarizing the document which was emailed to her.
All three- Doe, Grey, and Hughes- are attorneys and presumably would have known that a notary must witness the signature.
                    (Michon Hughes)
Grey has since moved to his own firm and did not respond to an email for comment. When this was argued in front of Judge Miller, Hughes claimed that notarizing in this way is normal, accused Hathaway of doing the same thing, and claimed a 2013 law allowed her to do this. 
Hathaway denied notarizing this way, and Hughes provided no evidence to back up this assertion; Hughes never provided this purported law allowing such a notary.
I could not find such a law in Oklahoma or any other state; Hughes did not respond to a voicemail for comment.
Notarizing the initial lawsuit in this way would not only constitute a fraud upon the court but since Hathaway had filed a petition for divorce in New Hampshire, but hadn’t yet served Doe, this would mean Doe’s legal team cheated to get the case in the state they wanted.

The Order of Protection

In April 2015, Hathaway was served at her New Hampshire home with an order of protection (OOP); Doe claimed Hathaway was harassing his friends and family, along with other transgressions.  
The OOP claimed Hathaway lived in Oklahoma; Michon Hughes would later say that this was a scrivener’s error, legal term for a typo.
“You know that was a scrivener’s error,” Hughes said.
“No, that was deception,” Hathaway responded.
If it was a scrivener’s error, it’s never been corrected and it’s a convenient typo because it suggested that Hathaway lived near Doe when they lived more than a thousand miles from each other. (Doe was living in Oklahoma in 2015.)
At the OOP hearing, Doe accused Hathaway of stalking, theft, harassing his family and employer, and costing him his job; Hathaway had to travel to Oklahoma- she has made approximately ten trips for this case- and was prepared to counter each charge- she had a warm birthday card from Doe’s sister who Hathaway had purportedly stalked- but she had the first of several panic attacks, failed to make the hearing and the order was entered by default. Doe never provided any witness statements to satisfy the claims. 
As a result, Hathaway was ordered to stay at least five hundred feet away from him, not to reference him on social media, a blog she started and to his then employer; in the blog she noted that she’s a domestic violence survivor, a certified volunteer crisis counselor, and advocate for domestic violence survivors; the picture painted by the OOP was the opposite of who she was.
The only other time in her life she had suffered panic attacks was when she was a domestic violence victim in her twenties.

Dirty Laundry on Dr. Phil

A family member of Hathaway’s suggested that the whole bizarre episode was perfect for Dr. Phil.
Months after getting an OOP, which forbade Hathaway from being within five hundred feet of Doe, they shared the same Dr. Phil stage voluntarily.
Also on the broadcast were Doe ex-wife, Kelly, and his ex-fiancée, Julie.
(Doe) is a user, and a thief, and a liar,” said Julie on the broadcast, a show entitled The College Professor and His Many Women.”
Doe “portrayed himself as a man of god but he’s really demon possessed.” Julie also said.
Julie went on to say that the two were engaged on August 11, 2011, also after a short courtship, but then Doe ended it suddenly with a text message and kicked her out of the house.
“When Doe kicked me out, I felt so unbelievably betrayed,’ Julie said.
It came out in the broadcast that Doe came cross country with his daughter- presenting himself as unattached- to see Hathaway while Julie was still living with him.
“One time when I was nine years old, he actually took me to meet with one of his lovers,” his ex-step-daughter Marissa said, describing how brazenly Doe cheated on her mom.
Kelly said before they divorced Doe pressured her to give him $300,000 for a property she said they purchased with her money. Doe also manipulated two properties in the divorce.
“All three of these women have one thing in common,” Hughes said, “they wanted more of Doe  property wise than he was willing to give.”
At that moment, all three women adamantly spoke up to challenge the assertion.
Of Hathaway, Doe said that the home at issue was an investment property; he accused Hathaway of being a gold digger, of also having affairs, and hiding her past as a dancer.
Hathaway adamantly denied all the charges and said she never hid that she’d been a dancer.
Doe remained defiant, stating in an email: “There are no children, no abuse issues, you should see the irony that a less than 6 month marriage has resulted in a Dr. Phil Episode.”

Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Proper implementation of  subject matter jurisdiction prevents judge or forum shopping.
A court must have some sort of stake in a case before it can hear it: That’s subject matter jurisdiction.
Their marital home was in New Hampshire, Doe claimed their marital home as his primary property, and he’d already sold his Oklahoma home; as such, Hathaway argued, Oklahoma had not established subject matter jurisdiction.
In an email to me, Doe said: “My domicile was Oklahoma and I had a contract to teach for the 2014-2015 school year in Tulsa,” and as such, argued that Oklahoma did have subject matter jurisdiction.  
At a hearing held in in April 2016, nearly two years after the divorce was filed, in front of Tulsa County Special District Judge J. Anthony Miller, Doe admitted that he had lived at the New Hampshire property, signed up for a Post Office box in December 2013 where he stated he had a permanent address in New Hampshire, the marriage license listed New Hampshire as their legal address, and renewed his driver’s license in New Hampshire on June 27, 2014.
Judge Miller, during an argument with Doe's attorney, noted the importance of this evidence: “I don’t understand why a driver’s licenses would not be admissible to go to evidence of where a person’s residence is in a hearing on subject matter jurisdiction.”
Doe provided a storage locker receipt in Oklahoma as evidence he lived in the state.
(Orwellian Judge J. Anthony Miller)
This video summarizes the events...


Judicial Estoppel

Hughes also argued that the case should move forward based on a legal technicality called judicial estoppel, which “prevents a party from asserting a position in one legal proceeding that directly contradicts a position taken by that same party in an earlier proceeding.According to the Cornell Law Review.
Hughes argued because Hathaway had come to Oklahoma to challenge the lawsuit, this implicitly gave the state jurisdiction.
Without subject matter jurisdiction, judicial estoppel is moot. After all, litigants need to prove domicile- meaning being a lawful permanent resident in a particular jurisdiction - before filing a lawsuit, and if all Doe provided was a storage locker receipt, he’d done nothing to show subject matter jurisdiction.

Neither estoppel nor anything else applies if it is achieved by fraud, but Judge Miller- who forced Hathaway to travel to Oklahoma for every hearing- ruled that estoppel applied.
The next day, after Hathaway filed an emergency motion for reconsideration, Judge Miller augmented his ruling, saying that not only did estoppel apply but subject matter jurisdiction as well.
“I apparently, I left the impression and I want to correct it, that the only basis for my ruling yesterday was on the basis of judicial estoppel. It’s my intention to indicate that after hearing those many hours of testimony, the facts support that this court has subject matter jurisdiction,” Judge Miller stated at this hearing, “He was a resident based on the factual record presented.”
While he said there was subject matter jurisdiction at this hearing, he never provided an explanation to back up this assertion, moving on to another subject after making this proclamation during the hearing.

The Conflicts of Judge J. Anthony Miller

Judge J. Anthony Miller appears to have been duty bound to recuse himself from the case. First, he was an informal mediator during a mediation session held on January 5, 2015.
He denied that he had been the informal mediator when asked to recuse himself, but Hathaway remembered him from the session; Judge Miller was the second judge on the case; Judge James Keeley presided over the case when Judge Miller was the informal mediator.
Bill Windsor tracked down the document proving this.
On January 5, 2015, a so-called ‘mediation’ was held by (Doe's) attorney, Michon Hughes, with Tanya Hathaway, and with a Tulsa judge/mediator.  The ‘mediator’ was not the judge in the case.  The meeting was allegedly an attempt for a quick resolution.  The ‘mediator’ gained personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding.  When Tanya Hathaway attempted to speak during the informal conference, the ‘mediator’ yelled at Tanya Hathaway to ‘SHUT UP.’  In April 2016, Tanya Hathaway learned that the ‘mediator’ was Judge J. Anthony Miller.” According to a blog post about the case from 2016.  
Judge Miller denied an emergency motion to disqualify himself from the case filed on July 5, 2016, where these arguments were made.
The Trial

The day after the subject matter jurisdiction hearing a divorce trial was held.
Hathaway initially made a motion to the court for an accommodation- a request she’d made before- under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Hathaway was diagnosed with adjustment disorder, which is a series of symptoms like anxiety and panic attacks resulting from a stressful life event.
She has attention deficit disorder (ADD), but because of the anxiety and panic attacks, her doctors removed her ADD medication which exacerbated the panic attacks.
As a result, she told Miller it was impossible for her to concentrate, and she was unable to properly catalogue: emails, receipts for improvements on the home, cash payments, and other documents.
She asked for a next friend- a person who assists another person who is under disability- to help catalogue her documents; Judge Miller denied this accommodation while refusing to accept her medical records as evidence.
Since it was the legal abuse which caused her adjustment disorder, Judge Miller had a reason not to recognize her disability; after all, he caused it.
Judge Miller then put off a citation he’d made against Doe for direct contempt for perjury, saying the issue would be taken up after the trial; as such, Frost could testify while being accused of lying under oath.
Among other things, Doe claimed Hathaway withheld his mail and that only she could forward the mail at the PO Box, when in reality, he had total control of that mailbox.
The Tulsa County Clerk of Court confirmed it’s not in their system but had no explanation why. The Clerk’s office said if a copy was submitted to them it would be entered into the system which I’ve done.
Approximately fifteen minutes into the hearing, Hathaway excused herself and went into the hallway; she was on the verge of a panic attack.
In the hallway, the panic attack continued, but Hughes was unimpressed, initially telling Judge Miller that Hathaway was faking it before following Hathaway into the hallway and presenting a deal.
“We know you’re going to appeal and this is going to drag on,” Hughes said while Hathaway was in the hallway trying to control her breathing.
“I’m having a panic attack and the only way to stop it now is to take meds that would knock me out and then I can’t even be there,” Hathaway responded still trying to control her breathing.
Hughes, who then acknowledged she’d also had panic attacks, responded, “$25,000, I think we’ve all agreed you put in at least that much. If we sell the property there will be at least that much.”
“I want this over with because I can’t live with him trying to take everything through the lies,” Hathaway responded still trying to control her breathing.
Carol Channing, the communications director of the Oklahoma Bar Association, did not respond when asked if this move violated any ethical standards.
This was one of over one hundred items filed by Hathaway in a bar complaint against Hughes; after a year, the bar responded by saying there was nothing to investigate.
Back in the courtroom, Hathaway said, “I’m having a panic attack and if I don’t take the medication I will have to go to the hospital and if I take medication, I won’t be able to stay awake and think clearly.”
Upon hearing this, Judge Miller adjourned the trial for fifteen minutes for Hathaway to collect herself.
During the break, an emergency medical technician (EMT) treated her with oxygen; while being treated by the EMTs, she was served with a subpoena, and told to return or lose by default.
Hathaway took a trazadone-prescribed by her doctor- to control her panic attacks; it was the first time she had taken trazadone- a drug which causes dizziness, drowsiness, and light-headedness.
When Hathaway informed the court, she had taken the drug, her statement was stricken from the record and Miller ordered the proceedings to continue.
Hathaway finished the trial that day, but remembers very little.
A call to Judge Miller’s chambers was also left unreturned.
Hathaway filed a grievance with the Oklahoma Board of JudicialStandards against Judge Mller-but they declined to take any action; they declined to comment to me, citing privacy.
                                             (Oklahoma Bar rejecting Hathaway's complaint against Miller)
This video summarizes the shocking set of events...
The Decision:

According to the docket, prior to the trial, Judge Miller was to hear Hathaway’s motion to vacate a defaulted order for summary judgment along with defaulted temporary orders.
The summary judgment gave Doe sole possession of the house.
These orders were entered by default at a hearing in April 2015; Hathaway didn’t make the hearing because while leaving her hotel which was across the street from the courthouse she suffered another panic attack.
She filed a motion to vacate before she left Oklahoma in April 2015- higher courts frown upon default judgments if the defaulted party has a good reason- and her motion was on the docket for a year and to be heard before the other matters- the subject matter jurisdiction and the divorce trial.
Rather than hearing Hathaway’s motions to vacate, Judge Millermade a nunc pro tunc ruling- a legal term which means to retroactively act on an earlier matter- which mirrored the summary judgment: Doe got sole possession of the house.
As such, rather than granting Hathaway a right to be heard, he gave Doe what he asked for without giving her a chance to oppose it. "
I never intended to hurt her, throw her out, or do anything to harm her and the boys." Doe said to Hathaway's sister in an email from September 2014, but that's exactly what will happen if this ruling is upheld.
The appeal has sat at the Oklahoma Supreme Court for approximately a year without a resolution.
There are more than fifty entries on the Oklahoma Supreme Court docket for this case; the case in Judge Miller’s court has more than one hundred entries.  There are hundreds in the District Court, some that Hathaway claims have been removed, many not available, and plenty “sealed”.
“For a six months marriage the cost in time has been exorbitant” Doe said during the hearing, “We didn’t have joint bank accounts, we didn’t have joint savings accounts, the property in her name remained in her name, the property in my name remained in my name and there was no reason it should have gone on this long,”
On March 9, 2018, the Oklahoma Appeal's Court  Division III affirmed the Orwellian decision, but Tanya has one last desperate hope at the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  

Injustice in Oklahoma EXPOSED:

From that experience, Hathaway started Injustice in Oklahoma EXPOSED; her story is one of tens of thousands of stories of corruption at all levels of government in Oklahoma, she said.  She has also expanded that forum and is a regular host on TS RadioTNT Tanya Talks”and has also been asked to speak at the the annual Whistle-blower’s Summit in Washington DC this summer and is dedicated to making a difference with other dedicated advocates like herself. 
 On Sunday March 18, 2018, TNT Tanya Talks will feature this story in depth. That's Sunday March 18 at 6PM Central Time. Find a link here