The case is JESSICA T. v. KIETH T., 2020 NY Slip Op 50673, NY: Supreme Court, Suffolk County, June 12, 2020 and this is how Justice Leis describes the background:
“The parties were married on August 26, 1999 and have 2 children, J. (age 17) and C. (age 15). Their assets consist of the marital home and the Defendant’s landscaping business Woodstock Estate Maintenance, Ltd. (“Woodstock”). This divorce case was commenced in December of 2013.
This case has a tortured history. Both parties are pro se having exhausted hundreds of thousands of dollars in counsel fees. At present, the Court has spent 62 days on trial in this matter consisting of 29 Hearing days to determine contempt and alleged parent alienation motions, 12 Trial days to determine permanent custody of the boys and visitation issues, and 21 days on this equitable distribution phase of the Trial wherein the parties introduced a total of 164 exhibits.
This Court was assigned this matter June 8, 2017 as an M.S.R.P. case. On June 16, 2017 the Court conducted its first contempt hearing pursuant to the Plaintiff’s application to hold the Defendant in contempt for his failure to pay support. During the hearing, the Defendant and his attorney provided no defense to the Plaintiff’s allegations. Accordingly, on a Friday the Defendant was found in contempt and sentenced to incarceration for his failure to pay thousands of dollars in court-ordered child support and maintenance. The Defendant purged the contempt by Monday morning. The Court conducted a second contempt hearing, which should have only taken several days, but lasted 29 days because of the Defendant’s frivolous and false allegations that the Plaintiff had engaged in parent alienation. After hearing from numerous experts, the Plaintiff, the Defendant and J. (in-camera), the Court concluded that the Defendant’s allegations of parental alienation by the Plaintiff were totally false and without merit.
The Court notes that the experts called during that proceeding by the Defendant had never spoken to J. or the Plaintiff so could not give an opinion on whether parent alienation had occurred.
Nevertheless, to this date, the Defendant persists in his allegation of parental alienation by the Plaintiff.
The Court next conducted a custody trial which lasted 12 days after which the Court granted full custody of both C. and J. to the Plaintiff and found that the Defendant was solely responsible for J.’s refusal to visit with him. Based on the conduct of the Defendant, the Court terminated all ongoing reunification therapy between J. and the Defendant and terminated all court-ordered visitation between J. and the Defendant.
Finally, the Court has concluded the equitable distribution trial. With no assets other than the marital home and the Defendant’s landscaping business, and with no expert witnesses, the matter has been unnecessarily prolonged by the Defendant for a total of 21 days of trial.
The main reason this divorce action has moved so slowly is the Defendant’s efforts to delay, prolong and obfuscate the proceeding. Despite repeated directions by the Court to refrain from extended diatribes and cross-examination on immaterial and collateral matters, the Defendant has refused to obey the directions of the Court. The Court was therefore forced on numerous occasions to end the Defendant’s examination on irrelevant topics with witnesses in the hope of moving this case toward a final determination. The Defendant’s arguments, that his collateral inquiries bear relevance on this proceeding because they deal with credibility issues, are not genuine. The Defendant’s main desire seems to be to inflict some sort of harm upon the Plaintiff in any manner possible as displayed throughout the entirety of this case. Indeed, in the final stages of this equitable distribution Trial, the Defendant brought another motion to recuse the Court and another motion to hold the Plaintiff in contempt. The recusal motion was the Defendant’s second written motion for recusal. The Court found in its decision dated February 19, 2020 that it was frivolous, baseless and brought solely to delay and prolong this equitable distribution Trial. The application to hold the Plaintiff in contempt was made a year and a half after the alleged contumacious conduct, and was found by this Court in a decision dated February 19, 2020 to be totally baseless, frivolous and likewise made solely to delay and prolong this proceeding.
From the inception of this divorce action, the Defendant has refused to timely pay court-ordered maintenance and support. The Defendant’s resentment toward the Plaintiff’s boyfriend, (who frequents the marital house but does not live there), is obsessive. The Defendant has allowed utilities to be shut off in the marital home resulting in a lack of heat in the winter in his deliberative effort to punish the Plaintiff for filing a divorce action and having a relationship with another man. The Defendant has totally lost his relationship with his older son J. by his conduct and actions, and he possibly would have lost his relationship with his younger son C. but for the Plaintiff’s concerted efforts to foster the relationship.
The Defendant’s penchant for intimidation of the Plaintiff and J. has evolved into attempts to intimidate the court-appointed Attorney For the Children, the attorneys involved in the case (including his own), and the Court itself by filing a frivolous Federal lawsuit seeking billions of dollars from each of the defendants named therein, including this Jurist. The Defendant’s use of all aspects of both the State and Federal Judiciary to harass and annoy those whom he has set out to attack cannot be condoned or tolerated.
Although this Court has handled thousands of domestic violence cases over the course of its 34 years on the bench, in both Family Court and as a Justice of the Supreme Court (assigned to the Integrated Domestic Violence Court, Guardianship, Matrimonial and Civil cases), this case stands out as one of the most insidious. Here, the harassment did not stop at the commencement of the action or with the parties’ separation, but accelerated exponentially and has continued for more than six years after the summons and notice were filed.
The Defendant has used the very system that is supposed to provide justice and protection to victims of domestic violence to terrorize and emotionally abuse the Plaintiff and the parties’ oldest child, J. What the Court did not realize during the many hours spent with J. and his attorney in the in-camera interviews trying to persuade J. to visit with his father, was the malignancy and magnitude of the Defendant’s vexatious/abusive litigation tactics perpetrated against this child and his mother. During the three separate proceedings held in this matter, the Defendant’s actions, statements and conduct have vacillated between the absurd and the delusional. This is fully observable in his summation in this matter wherein he requested $344,860.00 in support and maintenance, and $140,000.00 for attorneys fees from the unemployed, stay-at-home, non-monied Plaintiff. One thing remains clear, however, the Defendant’s conduct never waivers from the malicious which runs through the core of his concerted efforts. His compulsive lying, demonstrated throughout these proceedings, is insidious and is just one of the many things that J. dislikes in his father.
In its attempt to provide fairness and due process to the Defendant and give him a full opportunity to prove his case, the Court has unwittingly permitted the Defendant to continue to harass the Plaintiff and their son J. by prolonging this matter. This decision can now provide some form of compensatory justice to the Plaintiff and call the Defendant to task for his malignant use of the judicial process.”