Martin v. Howard University, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19516 (D.C. 1999) was appealed first to the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then to the Supreme Court. The D.C. Circuit issued an
unpublished, short decision, per curiam, meaning that no individual judge or judges claimed authorship of
it. The decision ignored most of the arguments in Plaintiff's Brief, as well as the arguments in the Amicus
Curiae Briefs of the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Association of Women
Lawyers (NAWL) and the additional women's and victims' advocacy groups that signed onto the Amicus
Brief. Ms. Martin appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but her case was one of the 7,000-9,000 cases
that the Court declines to hear since it cannot possibly hear all the cases it is petitioned to hear. The
entire Joint Appendix is uploaded on this website and accessed at MartinvHowardU. The Appellate
Briefs are uploaded below.
The Appellate Briefs may be accessed through the links below:
1) Ms. Martin's April 29, 2008 Petition for Rehearing, En Banc (includes March 31, 2008 Appellate
Decision in the Appendix;
2) Brief of Dawn V. Martin, Esquire, Appellant's Brief;
3) Amicus Curiae Brief (friend of the Court), by The National Association of Women Lawyers;
4) Howard University Brief; Appellee # 1 Response Brief;
5) Alice Gresham Bullock Brief, Brief of Alice Gresham Bullock, Esquire, Appellee #2 Response Brief;
6) Martin Reply Brief responding to Appellees' arguments.
The National Association of Women Lawyers ("NAWL") filed an Amicus Curiae Brief (friend of the
court) in support of Ms. Martin. NAWL's Brief outlines the issues it believes will affect the rights and
safety of women at work. NAWL is the leading national voluntary organization devoted to the interests
of women lawyers and women's rights. NAWL has historically served as an educational forum and an
active voice for the concerns of women in the legal profession.
The Joint Appendix, submitted to the Appellate Court with the Briefs, consisted of the entire District
Court Record (over 14,000 pages long, spanning an 8-year period of court filings) -- including the full
trial transcript. See Table of Contents for Joint Appendix uploaded at MartinvHowardU. The Briefs cite
the specific page number of the Joint Appendix containing the evidence (exhibit or witness testimony)
that the party is relying upon to support each factual statement made in the Briefs.
THE MARCH 31, 2008 DECISION APPEALED TO THE SUPREME COURT
On March 17, 2008, a three-judge Panel of :the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
(Judges Edwards, Henderson and Williams), heard oral argument in the appeal in the case. Ms. Martin
told the Panel:
“The precedent set by this Court will determine how employers and educational institutions will
respond to stalking and other types of workplace and campus violence – particularly when it is
directed against women. If a woman can be stalked in her workplace, and fired for asking her
employer to take reasonable steps to keep him out of the workplace, then women will be forced
to choose between their safety and their livelihood – a Hobson’s choice.”
Less than two weeks later, the Panel issued a March 31, 2008 unpublished decision. (No individual
judge claimed "credit" for writing the decision.) The Court held:
"The District Court limited Ms. Martin's retaliation claims to two alleged harms-the
decision of Howard Law not to hire her for a tenure-track position in equal employment
opportunity law and her expulsion from her office. Any challenge to these alleged harms
is now moot. Because the jury reasonably found that Ms. Martin had not engaged in
protected activity, the necessary predicate for her claims of retaliation is missing."
March 31, 2008 unpublished decision at page 4. In other words, since the jury concluded that, although
Leonard Harrison stalked Prof. Martin in her workplace, the evidence did not prove that Harrison
targeted her because she was a woman, there was no statutory protection against any type of retaliation
that Howard might have taken against her for being stalked in her workplace.
This decision, disturbingly, allows an employer to fire a woman for being stalked -- even here, where the
harasser is a delusional, serial stalker of African-American women professors, allowed to roam freely
through her workplace -- a law school campus of a national University touted for its civil rights legacy.
The Panel squarely placed women in the "Hobson's choice" position warned by Ms. Martin, forcing them
to choose between their jobs and their safety, if they are stalked at work.
The Panel's brief March 31, 2008 disposition of the case failed to even address several of the most
important legal issues raised in both Ms. Martin's Brief and the Amicus Curiae Brief of the National
Association of Women Lawyers. This means that the lower court decisions that did address these issues
remain intact, as the legal precedent for the District of Columbia Circuit. See relevant district court
decisions. The errors in these decisions are detailed in the Appellate Briefs.
On April 29, 2008, Ms. Martin filed a Petition for Rehearing En Banc, asking the entire court to review
the decision. On May 20, 2008, the Clerk of the Court denied the petition, since no judge had called for
a vote on the matter. Ms. Martin filed a Petition for Supreme Court review. The National Organization
for Women (NOW), the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and additional women's and
civil rights advocacy groups filed an Amicus Curiae (friend of the Court) Brief urging the Supreme Court
to hear the case. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not hear the case. The Supreme Court receives
7,000-9,000 Petitions, or requests to hear cases per year. It can only hear less than 100 cases. Any
Petition for the Supreme Court is, therefore, a "longshot;" nevertheless, the case did get substantial
coverage on the internet and among women's groups. Hopefully, it will serve to raise awareness on the
issue of stalking and workplace violence and perhaps result in federal legislation that mirrors New York
City's Human Rights Law, which protects employees from discrimination and retaliation for being
victims of stalking or domestic violence.
The arguments made by Ms. Martin and the Amicus groups are summarized below, but set forth in more
detail in the Briefs of Ms. Martin and NOW/NAWL.
JUDICIAL ERRORS IN THE APPELLATE PANEL'S MARCH 31, 2008 DECISION
(See Petition for Rehearing En Banc for a full discussion)
Errors in the Definition of Sexual Harassment or Harassment Based on Sex
The Appellate Decision Left Intact the District Court's Holding that the
Absence of "Groping" or "Touching" can Defeat a Sexual Harassment Claim
The district court held that “groping” and “touching” are “typical” indicia of sexual harassment cases and
that since Harrison did not touch Prof. Martin, the jury had reason to find that she was not sexually
harassed.” The Court of Appeals did not address this issue. Since it has not been overturned, this
precedent set by this decision arguably requires a woman to be assaulted in order to establish that she
was sexually harassed in her workplace. This holding flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent and
sets sexual harassment law back more than thirty years in the District of Columbia.
The Appellate Court Ignored the Fact that the Stalker "Profiled" Prof. Martin,
on the Basis of her Gender
Martin is the first known case posing the concept of “gender profiling” in employment, under Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Harrison pursued
only women to be his "wife" and stalked or harassed them on that basis. He specifically selected women
of color who were lawyers and/or professors specializing in civil rights law, particularly involving issues
of race. These are the characteristics of the fictional female character, Geneva Crenshaw, in Prof.
Derrick Bell's book, And we are not Saved. Harrison had decided that the "real" Geneva Crenshaw
should be his wife and set out on a quest to find her -- a quest that spanned at least 12 years and was
continuing after he stalked Prof. Martin.
Martin also raised the issue of "gender profiling" in the employment discrimination context. Just as
"racial profiling" targets victims based on race, victims are "profiled" on the basis of their sex when they
are targeted for harassment because they fit a certain "profile" that is dependant upon gender. Just as
"driving while Black" creates a disproportionate risk of arrest for African-Americans, "working while
female" creates a disproportionate risk of being stalked or otherwise harassed in the workplace. This
may occur when a harasser targets a woman because she resembles a character in a book or a
celebrity. The harasser may also target a woman to fulfill a gender specific role, such as "wife,"
"mother" or "daughter."
The precedent set in Martin, with respect to gender, will also apply to racial profiling and profiling based
on other protected categories such as race, national origin, age, disability or religion. The implementation
of EEOC Regulation 29 CFR 1604.11(e), affects not just women, with respect to sexual harassment, but
also other racial, ethnic, religious, age and disability groups unprotected where they are targeted for
harassment, in the workplace, by non-employees (e.g., Maupin v. Howard County Board of Education,
Howard County, Maryland Circuit Court (July 2, 2007) (an African-American teacher received
intimidating calls at work from a purported member of Ku Klux Klan and her request for security was
Ms. Martin and NAWL cited Supreme Court and additional case law on holding that the test of whether
the harassment is based on sex is whether the harasser would have similarly harassed the plaintiff had
she been a man. These "sex plus" other factors cases hold that if sex/gender is one of the factors used
to target the victim, then the conduct constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex/gender. The facts of
this case clearly demonstrated that Harrison would not have pursued Prof. Martin to be his wife had she
been a man -- nor would he have hoped that she was the "real" Geneva Crenshaw if she had been a man
and that sex/gender was the foremost criterion used by Harrison to select his victims. The Appellate
Panel ignored this argument.
The Appellate Panel Ignored Former Dean Bullock's Perjury, Proven by her own
July 1, 1999 Memo Directly Contradicting her Trial Testimony
In Dean Bullock's July 1, 1998 memo to Howard's General Counsel, in response to Prof. Martin's EEOC
charge, she expressly acknowledged that, when she read Prof. Martin's November 25, 1997 memo to
Dean Bullock detailing Harrison's stalking of her on campus, she and Associate Dean Newsom perceived
Harrison as a serious threat to Prof. Martin and "other women" on campus whom Harrison might "stalk"
or "otherwise harass;" yet, at trial, Prof. Bullock testified that she did not perceive Harrison's pursuit of
Prof. Martin to be based on gender.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) prohibits a party from prevailing in case based on fraud. As set
forth in Ms. Martin's Brief, case law holds that perjury constitutes fraud, within the meaning of Rule 60
(b) and compels vacating the jury's verdict, which was based on former Dean Bullock's perjury on the
deciding issue in the case. Neither Howard nor Prof. Bullock's personal attorney have denied that former
Dean Bullock committed perjury at trial. Instead, Howard's Brief and Bullock's Brief both argue that
perjury does not require vacating the jury’s verdict. Howard's position is neither morally nor legally
defensible; yet, the Appellate Panel did not address it.
The Appellate Panel Erroneously Held that Harrison Harassed Prof. Martin because
he "Misidentified" her as his Wife and that Harassment Based on "Misidentification:
Did not Constitute Harassment Based on Sex/Gender
The Appellate Panel adopted Howard's misrepresentation that the stalker, Harrison, "misidentified" Prof.
Martin as his "estranged wife" and that this somehow negated his targeting of her as a woman. This
conclusion was wrong both on the law and the facts. First, even if Harrison had mistaken Prof. Martin
for a real "wife," he could not have mistaken her for his wife had she been a male. This would still mean
that he harassed her on the basis of her sex -- even if sex were not the only criterion.
Second, this conclusion is factually baseless. The record is clear that there was never any real "wife."
Harrison's letters reveal that there is only his delusional vision of a woman whom he wanted to be his
wife -- based on a fictional female character in a book. Harrison could not have "misidentified" Prof.
Martin for a woman who does not even exist!
The Appellate Panel Ignored the Ms. Martin's and NAWL's Argument that
Stalking Constitutes Harassment on the Basis of Sex because 80% of all
Stalking Victims are Women
Both Ms. Martin and NAWL argued that stalking constitutes harassment on the basis of sex because
80% of all stalking victims are women, citing Justice Department statistics. They argued that the
disparate impact theory of discrimination should be applied, rather than requiring the plaintiff to prove
that the stalking was based expressly on sex. The Appellate Panel ignored this argument.
The Appellate Panel Ignored Ms. Martin's and NAWL's Argument that the Stalker's
Pursuit of Prof. Martin to become his "Wife" was Inherently Sexual in Nature
Both Ms. Martin and NAWL argued that marriage, as a matter of law, is an inherently sexual relationship,
citing case law that permits divorce where a spouse withholds sex from the other, without recognized
justification. The Appellate Panel ignored this argument as well.
The Appellate Panel Erroneously Held that, in 1999, Judge Hogan did not Hold
that Harrison's Harassment of Prof. Martin was Based on Sex, as a Matter of Law,
Based on the Undisputed Facts
The Court of Appeals held that Ms. Martin misinterpreted Judge Hogan’s 1999 decision; however, on
October 20, 2003, Magistrate Judge Facciola, to whom Judge Hogan referred the case, specifically
identified, in detail, the issues were decided in 1999 and would not be “triable issues of fact” for the jury
and what issues would proceed to a jury at trial. The Court of Appeals discounted MJ Facciola’s
interpretation of Judge Hogan’s decision, stating that he could not overrule Judge Hogan; however, as
Ms. Martin stressed in her Brief, Reply Brief and oral argument, Judge Hogan adopted Judge Facciola’s
decision as his own, on September 16, 2005. This was not, therefore, a question of whether Ms. Martin
and/or Magistrate Facciola corrected interpreted Judge Hogan's decision; by making Magistrate
Facciola's decision his own, he confirmed that Magistrate Facciola had correctly interpreted his 1999
decision as determining, based on the undisputed facts, Harrison's conduct constituted harassment on
the basis of sex, as a matter of law and that it would not be a triable issue of fact for the jury.
Errors of Fact that Affected Rulings of Law
The Appellate Panel's unpublished March 31, 2008 Decision adopts -- and actually relies upon.as fact,
Howard's blatant, material misrepresentations of the record -- even though Ms. Martin filed two motions
for sanctions against Howard and its outside counsel for these misrepresentations in its Brief and oral
argument. See March 11, 2008 Motion for Sanctions against Howard University for its false
representations to the Court of Appeals in its Brief. On April 1, 2008, Ms. Martin filed a Motion for
Sanctions against Brian L. Schwalb, Esquire (see Exhibits) one of Howard's attorneys, and his law firm
for his false statements and misrepresentations of the record during oral argument. Howard made
numerous material false factual representations that were completely unsupported by the evidence and
contradicted by Howard's own admissions in discovery and stipulations and/or by the testimony of its
own binding witnesses.
The Court of Appeals also relied on Howard's completely unsupported statement that Harrison "stalked"
males as well as females; but Harrison was not an "equal opportunity stalker. H stalked only women.
Harrison has targeted African-American female professors across the country, since the mid-1980s, in
search of the embodiment of a fictional character, Geneva Crenshaw, in a book, And we are not Saved,
written by the renowned law professor, Prof. Derrick Bell, who is currently teaching at NYU Law
School. See Harrison's letters: first letter; second letter; January 1998 letter to another female
In 1990, Harrison threatened the life of Prof. Bell, at Harvard University, accusing Prof. Bell of
concealing the identify of the "real" Prof. Crenshaw from him. See Affidavit of Prof. Derrick Bell. This
one incident, however, does not begin to meet the definition of "stalking," since "stalking" is legally
defined by numerous acts of harassment.
Since the trial judge would not allow Prof. Bell to testify, the only evidence of Harrison's contact with
Prof. Bell came from Ms. Martin. Ms. Martin did not use the word "stalk" in describing what Prof. Bell
told her, nor did the behavior described constitute stalking. The judge allowed in only enough testimony
to inform the jury that Harrison had approached a man, then cut off Ms. Martin's testimony so that the
jury could not hear that Harrison only approached him to obtain the name of a woman or that Prof. Bell
had told her of other women that Harrison pursued to be his "wife" -- or the model for the "Geneva
NAWL's Amicus Brief argues that Howard’s argument is like saying that John Hinckley did not sexually
harass Jodie Foster when he stalked her because he also attempted to kill President Reagan. NAWL
argues that the fact that a sexually harassing stalker may also have committed a violent act against a man
in his lifetime does not negate the fact that he sexually harassed a woman in another setting.
The Appellate Panel Left Intact The Trial Court's Erroneous Holding in Title VII Retaliation
Martin also presented issues regarding actionable retaliation under Title VII, but the Court of Appeals
deemed these issues moot. Since the Court determined that Howard was free to commit any retaliatory
act against Prof. Martin for being stalked, with no Title VII penalty, the lower court’s definition of acts
that constitute actionable retaliation under Title VII was irrelevant to this case; however, the Court of
Appeals’ failure to reverse the lower court on this issue leaves the lower court’s precedent intact: an
employer may leave positions unfilled, cancel vacancies and/or convert advertised positions to positions
for which an applicant is not the best qualified, even where it is done to prevent the most qualified
applicant from being hired, in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment – or any other EEO violation,
whether based on race, national origin, religion, ethnicity, age or disability.
The Appellate Panel Failed to Address Trial Court's Decision Assessing Defendants'
Litigation Costs against Plaintiffs in Employment Discrimination Cases, Filed in Good Faith
This case presents the Court with yet another precedent-setting issue. The trial court, via, Chief Judge
Hogan, ordered Ms. Martin to pay Howard University's litigation costs, without notice or opportunity to
be heard on the factors that are to be considered when assessing costs against a Title VII plaintiff. Ms.
Martin filed an Opposition to Defendant's Bill of Costs based on the law of other circuits and related
Supreme Court law.
Ms. Martin also asked the Court to define the circumstances under which Title VII plaintiffs may be
ordered to pay the litigation costs of the defendant. The National Organization of Women (NOW)
recently ran a campaign protesting the 11th Circuit imposition of costs against the plaintiff in Lilly
Ledbetter v. Goodyear, after the Supreme Court ruled against her in her sex discrimination claim. NOW
and NAWL have argued that such assessments unfairly punish women who file sex discrimination
lawsuits, in good faith, in the public interest. The Court declined to address this issue.
The issue of assessing costs was stayed during the appellate process. When the appellate process
ended, Howard University moved the Court to lift the stay and force Ms. Martin to pay its litigation costs
(nearly $10,000). "Costs" include deposition transcript costs, photocopying and other "out of pocket"
costs, as opposed to attorneys' fees, which cannot be assessed against a plaintiff unless it is a completely
frivolous suit, within the meaning of "Rule 11," meriting punishment of the plaintiff for bringing the
action. The issue of costs is currently pending before Judge Hogan, at the Trial Court level. Ms. Martin
has cited numerous cases, including controlling case law, holding that the special status of civil rights
plaintiffs, as "private attorneys general" opposing discrimination, requires that the court examine certain
factors to each case to determine whether it is just and fair to impose the defendant's costs on the
plaintiff. These factors include: 1) whether the plaintiff brought the case in good faith; 2) whether the
case was a close one or raised important legal issues; 3) the relative financial resources of the parties; 4)
any misconduct by the defendant; and 5) any misconduct by the plaintiff. See Plaintiff's Motion to
Retax Costs/Vacate Clerk's Taxation of Costs, Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Retax
Costs/Vacate Clerk's Taxation of Costs against Plaintiff and Plaintiff's Reply to Defendant's Opposition
to Plaintiff's Motion to Retax Costs/Vacate Clerk's Taxation of Costs against Plaintiff.
Ironically, Howard University is, once again, betraying its own civil rights legacy by arguing for legal
precedent that punishes civil rights plaintiffs for filing civil rights suits, by burdening them with
Defendants' litigation costs if they do not prevail in their lawsuits. Courts have held that the threat of not
only losing a case, but also, the possibility of paying the defendant's litigation costs, would have a
"chilling" effect on potential civil rights plaintiffs and that this reluctance to file civil rights claims will
thwart the enforcement of civil rights.
PETITION BEFORE THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
Ms. Martin asked the United States Supreme Court to review her case. See December 15, 2008 Press
Release, Martin's Petition for Supreme Court Certiorari, the Amicus Curiae Brief of the National
Organization of Women (NOW), the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), et. al., Martin's
Reply to Howard's Opposition to Petition for Certiorari, and Martin's Petition for Rehearing. The
Supreme Court initially declined to review the case, but, nine days later, the Court decided Crawford v.
Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn., -- U.S. --, 2009 WL 160424 (U.S.)
(2009), a Title VII case, like Martin, involving sexual harassment and retaliation for opposing sexual
harassment. On February 9, 2009, Ms. Martin filed a motion to supplement her previous filings to rely
on the Court's controlling decision in Crawford. See MartinvHowardUStatus2010. The Court declined
to hear the case, but a similar motion is now pending before Judge Hogan, at the Trial Court level. If the
Court reviews its previous decision under the Supreme Court's precedent in Crawford, it should vacate
the jury verdict, which was based on improper legal instructions regarding "protected activity" under
ORIGINAL PETITION FOR SUPREME COURT REVIEW
On August 14, 2008 Ms. Martin filed her original Supreme Court Petition for Certiorari (for printing
purposes, note that the first 52 pages constitutes the Petition and the Appendix is an additional 241 pages
long). Howard filed a Brief in Opposition. Ms. Martin filed a Reply Brief and an Amicus Curiae (friend
of the Court) Brief was filed by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the National
Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), joined by: 1) Peace at Work; 2) The Arizona Coalition against
Domestic Violence; 3) The Iowa Coalition against Domestic Violence; 4) Survivors in Action; 5) The
Weaker Vessel; 6) After the Trauma; and 7) The California Protective Parents’ Association. Ms. Martin
extends her sincere thanks to these organizations and the people who committed themselves to the
Amicus Brief. She especially thanks Roberta Wright, Esquire, for writing the Brief and then NOW
President, Kim Gandy, for taking the lead in sponsoring and reviewing it.
The Supreme Court receives 9,000 Petitions for Certiorari (requests to review U.S. Court of Appeals
Decisions) each year. It hears less than 100 of them. There are death penalty cases, election cases,
international law cases, other employment cases and other extremely important issues before them, so it
is no reflection on the merits of Ms. Martin's case that it was not selected for review. To the contrary,
the fact that women's rights advocates and anti-violence groups support of Ms. Martin and her legal
arguments. Numerous websites, bloggers and commentators wrote in support of her efforts to provide
legal protection for stalking victims at work.
Even if Martin v. Howard University remains another wrong decision by judges setting bad precedent,
but hopefully, it will bring enough attention to the issues of stalking and workplace violence to bring
about a change the law, as well as security practices in the workplace and on campuses. It won't give
back what it took away from Ms. Martin or her family, but hopefully, it will help other women.
If the Supreme Court again declines to hear the case, however, Ms. Martin will still have to litigate the
issue of Howard's costs -- nearly $10,000 -- that the District Court, Judge Thomas Hogan, ordered Ms.
Martin to pay to Howard, as a result of her losing the case.
Howard’s legal arguments are difficult to find within the “muck and mire” of its flagrantly false
representations of the record. It consists primarily of false representations attacking her character, as it
did in its D.C. Circuit Brief. See March 11, 2008 Motion for Sanctions against Howard University for its
false representations to the Court of Appeals in its Brief. Ms. Martin's Reply focuses on the legal issues
affecting all women and stalking victims, but does address Howard's attack on her family.As the D.C.
Court of Appeals cautioned, in another sex discrimination case brought by a Howard University
…[a]n unscrupulous employer who has engaged in discriminatory practices may
sometimes falsely depict a person with a legitimate complaint as a meritless troublemaker;
the effects of the employer’s wrongful conduct may them be compounded by the
undeserved ad hominen condemnation of and calumny against a plaintiff who deserves better.
Carter-Obayuwana v. Howard University, 764 A.2d 779, 793 (D.C. 2001). Howard has a pattern of
long, “contentious” litigation with its employees. See, e.g., Summers v. Howard University, WL 751316
at *4, 5 (D.D.C. 2006) (finally settled).
"[A] lie is evidence of consciousness of guilt.”
Aka v. Washington Hospital Center, 156 F.3d 1284, 1293 (D.C. Cir. 1998).
The U.S. Court of Appeals' March 31, 2008 Decision repeats the facts as stated in the District Court's
October 4, 2006 District Court Decision, which fails to disclose any facts about the stalking of Prof.
Martin at Howard Law School; however, in 1999, the District Court did reveal these facts. See Martin
v. Howard University and Alice Gresham Bullock, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19516, 1999 WL 1295339, 81
FEP Cases 964 (BNA), 15 IER Cases 1587 (D.D.C. 1999). The facts omitted by the Appellate Panel and
the 2006 trial court decision are the very facts that led the same trial judge, Judge Thomas F. Hogan, to
conclude, in 1999, that the stalker's pursuit of Prof. Martin and other women lawyers and professors
who fit the concept of his perfect "wife," made it "clear" that the stalker's harassment of Prof. Martin
was sexual in nature or based on her sex/gender. See Martin v. Howard University and Alice Gresham
Bullock, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19516, 1999 WL 1295339,81 FEP Cases 964 (BNA), 15 IER Cases
1587 (D.D.C. 1999). The District Court reaffirmed this conclusion in 2003 and 2005; however, in 2006,
after all evidence was submitted at trial, the trial judge surprisingly submitted the question of whether the
harassment was based on sex to the jury and declined to provide the jury with additional instruction on
the legal analysis of sexual harassment when the jury requested it.
THE BASIS FOR THE PETITION FOR REHEARING BY THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
On November 17, 2008, the Supreme Court declined to review Prof. Martin’s case; however, on
December 12, 2008, she filed a Supreme Court Rule 44 Petition for Rehearing, in light of its pending
review of Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, another case
similarly alleging sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. Both Ms. Crawford
and Prof. Martin lost their jobs shortly after reporting the harassment to their employers. They were
both deprived of the opportunity to prove that they lost their jobs due to retaliation for reporting the
harassment. In both Crawford and Martin, the respective Circuit Courts held that the plaintiffs did not
engage in “protected activity” because of how they reported the sexual harassment to their employers.
In 1999, the federal district court set precedent in Martin by adopting the EEOC Regulation 29 CFR
1604.11(e), holding that an employer can be held liable for the sexual harassment of an employee, by a
non-employee, if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take
reasonable steps to end it. Martin v. Howard University and Alice Gresham Bullock, 1999 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 19516, 1999 WL 1295339, 81 FEP Cases 964 (BNA), 15 IER Cases 1587 (D.D.C. 1999). Judge
Hogan identified the jury questions as: 1) whether Harrison’s harassment was severe and pervasive
enough to constitute a hostile work environment; and 2) whether Howard took reasonable steps to end
it. The jury agreed with Prof. Martin that Harrison’s harassment did create a “hostile work
environment” for her and that Howard did not take reasonable steps to end it; yet the verdict was for
Howard. With insufficient legal instruction from the judge, the confused jurors found that the
harassment was not based on sex – and therefore, that Prof. Martin’s complaints were not “protected
activity” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Howard repeatedly told the jury that Prof. Martin’s claim must be defeated because, after the D.C.
Metropolitan Police Department characterized Harrison as a “stalker,” she entitled her memos to the
Dean “Security Problem on Campus” rather than “Sexual Harassment.” Prof. Martin asked the judge to
instruct the jury, using the words from his own 1999 decision, that it is not necessary to use the precise
words “sexual harassment” to invoke Title VII protection. Judge Hogan flatly refused to provide that
instruction, even though several courts have recognized that stalking is one of the most egregious forms
of sexual harassment. Judge Hogan also refused to provide the jury with the D.C. Stalking Statute,
which defines “stalking” as repeated harassment. Without the proper legal framework for analyzing
harassment based on sex, jurors were confused into accepting Howard University’s argument that the
stalker’s harassment was not sexual in nature or based on sex and that her complaints did not constitute
“protected activity.” The Supreme Court’s decision in Crawford should control the outcome of Martin.
Prof. Martin filed her December 12, 2008 Petition for Rehearing, coincidentally, shortly after celebrity
Paula Abdul directed public attention to the issue of workplace stalking in an interview with Barbara
Walters. Ms. Abdul alleged that her employer, American Idol, allowed a stalker on the show -- her
workplace --for "entertainment value." A videotaped audition shows a contestant singing a song he had
written about his desire to "stalk" Ms. Abdul, with fellow Idol judge Randy Jackson laughing and
encouraging it and security doing nothing, even as the contestant approaches Paula, grinding against the
table as he sings that he would like to "Peter Falk" her. It is only because fellow judge and producer
Simon Cowell insists that security remove the contestant that he is finally stopped.
Workplace scenarios described by Prof. Martin and Ms. Abdul highlight the fact that there is no federal
statute that expressly protects stalking victims against employer retaliation for complaining about stalking
-- or that obligates employers to take reasonable steps to keep known stalkers out of the workplace.
Prof. Martin filed her case under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment
that is “sexual in nature” or based on gender. Prof. Martin argues that: 1) since 78% of stalking victims
are women, stalking constitutes harassment on the basis of gender; 2) when the stalker uses “gender
specific” language and criteria to select his victim, the stalking is harassment based on gender; and 3)
where a stalker pursues a woman to make her his “wife,” the harassment is stalking “sexual in nature.”
Prof. Martin wants the Court to apply Title VII to protect women from workplace stalking and from
employer retaliation for reporting stalking. Prof. Martin argues that women who are doing nothing more
than “working while female” should not have to choose between their jobs and their safety.
Ms. Martin intends to continue to stand up for women who are stalked in their workplaces by working
to pass legislation that expressly prohibits employer retaliation against stalking victims.
Law Offices of Dawn V. Martin, LLC
Martin v. Howard University,
The Trial and Jury Verdict
Law Offices of Dawn V. Martin, LLC
Martin v. Howard University,