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JAG4584
06-03-2008, 11:45 PM
A woman should not have to choose between her livelihood and her personal safety. Good read for your legal buffs out there.


####
PRESS RELEASE: May 22, 2008
Contact: Law Offices of Dawn V. Martin
e-mail: dvmartinlaw@yahoo.com
(202) 408-7040; (703) 642-0207
website: www.dvmartinlaw.com (http://www.dvmartinlaw.com)

Law Professor will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to Reverse Decision Holding that a Woman
Can be Fired for being Stalked by a Stranger Roaming Freely through her Workplace

Washington, D.C. – On March 31, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judges
Edwards, Henderson and Williams, decided the appeal of Martin v. Howard University, 1999 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 19516, 1999 WL 1295339; 81 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 964; 15 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 1587 (D.D.C.
1999). Prof. Dawn V. Martin was harassed by a serial campus stalker. Her contract was “not renewed” after
she asked the university to implement its own security procedures to bar the stalker from the law school.
During oral argument, on March 17, 2008, Ms. Martin told the Court: “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Less than two weeks later, in an unpublished decision by the three-judge panel, the Court squarely placed
women in the position of choosing between their jobs and their safety, if they are stalked at work. The serial
campus stalker only knew that Prof. Martin existed because he roamed through her workplace freely,
prowling for a female professor who fit his fantasy concept of a “wife.” This delusional, homeless man,
Leonard Harrison, had been targeting women of color, at Universities since the mid-1980s. Harrison had his
own vision of his “natural wife,” or “soul-mate,” whom he believed was the physical embodiment of a
fictional character, Geneva Crenshaw, in a book, written by the renowned NYU law professor, Derrick Bell.
Ms. Martin asked the entire Court to review the Panel decision, but no judge called for a vote on the case, so
her request was denied. Ms. Martin said: “The only hope for reversal now is to go to the United States
Supreme Court. I am looking for groups that are willing to come together to file a joint Amicus Brief at the
Supreme Court level.” Groups interested in providing support should contact Ms. Martin at
dvmartinlaw@yahoo.com.

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 nonemployee,if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take reasonable stepsto stop it. Howard asked the Court to reverse this decision and invalidate the EEOC Regulation. The Court
of Appeals did not address Howard’s argument, or otherwise discuss the lower court’s holding on how
employers should address non-employee harassment of employees.

Martin is the first case considering 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. The National Association of
Women Lawyers (NAWL), as Amicus Curiae filed a Brief supporting Martin. Ms. Martin said, “In 1999, the
district court judge said that it was ‘clear’ that Harrison harassed me based on my sex –but seven years later,
after all of the evidence was presented at trial, the same judge suddenly submitted the question to the jury.
The jurors were clearly confused on the law. They asked the court to give them additional instruction on the
definition of sexual harassment, but the judge would not provide it. Based on what they understood the law tobe, the jurors concluded that Harrison’ stalking was not sexual in nature or based on my gender. That meant
that there is no statute to protect me from being stalked in my workplace from being fired for reporting it.”
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 detailed
what issues were decided in 1999 and would not be “triable issues of fact” for the jury and what issues wouldproceed 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, ReplyBrief and oral argument, Judge Hogan adopted Judge Facciola’s decision as his own, on September 16, 2005.

The district court also held that “groping” and “touching” are “typical” indicia of sexual harassment cases andthat 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 thisdecision arguably requires that a woman to be assaulted in order to establish that she was sexually harassed inher workplace.

The Court of Appeals also held that because, on one occasion in 1990, Harrison threatened Prof Bell, this was
enough to defeat Ms. Martin’s claim that Harrison harassed her because of her gender; however, Ms. Martinrepeatedly pointed out that Harrison did not stalk Prof. Bell. The legal definition of “stalking” requires
repeated acts of harassment directed toward the same victim. Harrison contacted Prof. Bell on only one
occasion, and then only to solicit his assistance in identifying the next woman he would stalk -- any woman
that he believed might be the “model” for “Geneva Crenshaw.” Ms. Martin said, “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. 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.”
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, inretaliation for reporting sexual harassment – or any other EEO violation, whether based on race, national
origin, religion, ethnicity, age or disability.
Ms. Martin also asked the Court to define the circumstances under which Title VII plaintiffs can be ordered topay the litigation costs of the defendant. The National Organization of Women (NOW) recently ran a campaignprotesting the 11th Circuit’s assessment of costs against the plaintiff in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, after the SupremeCourt ruled against her in her sex discrimination claim. 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 Court of Appeals also did not explain why Dean Alice Gresham Bullock’s perjury does not require
vacating the verdict.

In a July 1, 1999 memorandum to Howard’s General Counsel, Bullock admitted that she perceived Harrison as a threat to Prof. Martin and “other women” on campus; yet, at trial, she testified that she never perceived Harrison’s harassment as sexual harassment, or harassment based on sex/gender. Martin
said.

“Neither Howard nor her own personal counsel has denied that she committed perjury. Alice Gresham
Bullock created ten years of contentious and expensive litigation for both sides. She has caused ten years of
suffering for my family and me. We will never get those years back -- the years that I was raising my
daughter. This could all have been avoided if she had simply followed the university’s own security
procedures and barred Harrison from the law school rather than devoting her efforts to removing me from the
law school.”

Briefs are uploaded onto http://www.dvmartinlaw.com/MartinvHowardU.html). You may also hear radio interviews about the case at that cite.

dgiharris
06-04-2008, 01:27 AM
I swear to god and everything that is holy.

Does nothing make sense? Am I living in Bizaro world? I know this may seem a bit Wild Wild West like, but thugs are cheap to hire. A couple of thousand usually is enough to take care of someone. You don't have to kill them. Just a beating severe enough to put him in a wheel chair. (Wow did i say that outloud?)

That must sound very 'bad'. But in reality its not. If some wacko is stalking my wife, then he is choosing not to live by the social contract that we all have agreed to. It then becomes a matter of if I would rather my wife be endangered, or I take some action to ensure her safety. When choosing between some wacko stalker and my wife, i'll choose my wife and error on her side vs. 'hoping' that the wacko doesn't hurt her every single day.

Of course, this would be a moot point if the law didn't have loop holes big enough to drive a truck through on this topic. Stalking really is one of those gray areas that the law can't help you with until your life is in imminent danger and by then, it is too late.

Mel...

Opty
06-04-2008, 06:24 AM
I agree that people should not be fired for being stalked at work, however, that's not why Ms. Martin was "fired," and a jury of her peers agreed.

She lost her lawsuit because a) she sued for three claims that weren't provable nor entirely relevant to her situation (if you read her claims and about her actions in court, it's clear that her suit is more about ax-grinding against the University than a legitimate claim regarding her safety); b) she handled her case very poorly (she went through two different attorneys in this trial before finally deciding to represent herself. That's a big red flag that a person might not be...well...all that reasonable or clear-thinking).

So, while the points that employers should do more to protect their employees and that stalkers should be locked away are both reasonable and valid, the fact that Ms. Martin is trying to spin her situation with this type of demagoguery in order to gain support and sympathy detracts from the attention that should be given to the real victims of the types of situations she's trying to associate herself with (she was not "fired" nor was she "fired for being stalked. Her job position was temporary as she was a "visiting professor" and she was mad that she wasn't given a permanent, tenured position nor could she prove that she was ever up for one, even though she claimed that it was "promised" to her by an "oral contract" she has no evidence of).

Reading the actual case briefing is rather enlightening.

http://www.websupp.org/data/DDC/1:99-cv-01175-503-DDC.pdf

(for those without Adobe Reader:

http://209.85.135.104/search?q=cache:UcQMCGupYZcJ:www.websupp.org/data/DDC/1:99-cv-01175-503-DDC.pdf+Martin+v.+Howard+University&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=10&gl=us&ie=UTF-8)

robeiae
06-04-2008, 07:50 AM
Reading the actual case briefing is rather enlightening.

http://www.websupp.org/data/DDC/1:99-cv-01175-503-DDC.pdf

(for those without Adobe Reader:

http://209.85.135.104/search?q=cache:UcQMCGupYZcJ:www.websupp.org/data/DDC/1:99-cv-01175-503-DDC.pdf+Martin+v.+Howard+University&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=10&gl=us&ie=UTF-8)
Yes, it is.

Well said, Opty.

Bubastes
06-04-2008, 08:01 AM
Reading the actual case briefing is rather enlightening.

http://www.websupp.org/data/DDC/1:99-cv-01175-503-DDC.pdf

(for those without Adobe Reader:

http://209.85.135.104/search?q=cache:UcQMCGupYZcJ:www.websupp.org/data/DDC/1:99-cv-01175-503-DDC.pdf+Martin+v.+Howard+University&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=10&gl=us&ie=UTF-8)

Well said. Nice work in going right to the primary source.

Soccer Mom
06-04-2008, 08:16 AM
Well shoot. :D Here I sat reading the actual case and thinking it didn't match that "press release" (by an interested party BTW). I came back to post a link and saw that Opty was all over it all ready.

Teach me not to read down thread.

Opty
06-04-2008, 11:20 AM
I'm a consistent skeptic. Seeing that she'd written her own "press release" (and the fact that it sounded a little too outrageous to be true...though these days nothing surprises me) made my bullshit detector go off so I had to go searching.

Well, that and the fact that I have no life.

;)

icerose
06-04-2008, 07:36 PM
I'm a consistent skeptic. Seeing that she'd written her own "press release" (and the fact that it sounded a little too outrageous to be true...though these days nothing surprises me) made my bullshit detector go off so I had to go searching.

Well, that and the fact that I have no life.

;)

Thanks for finding the truth because I was rather confused as to why they would fire her over this. Around here they take stalking very seriously, especially if you know who the stalker is and can prove it.

ajkjd01
06-05-2008, 02:31 AM
I don't know enough about the facts of this case to make a statement on it, but I'm going to say something here that I catch myself saying a million times a day, on a smaller scale.

I generally say it as..."No, you haven't done anything wrong, and I know you've had the same phone number for twenty years, but isn't it worth the hassle of changing the number so that idiot over there doesn't have it?"

or

"Yeah, I know you own your house, and you've lived there all your life, but isn't it worth the hassle of moving so that the moron who's trailing you all over the place doesn't know where you live?"

I am SO not saying that victims deserve to be uprooted, or that they are required by law to change their own lives, but I would probably say to this woman; Negotiate a nice severance package and a good recommendation and then go looking for a job where he DOESN'T KNOW WHERE YOU WORK. It's a safety planning measure, not a punishment.

The merits of the case aside...there is something to be said for moving on to get away from the a**holes.

Challenger
06-26-2008, 10:27 PM
Healthy skepticism about any claim is always in order, but Mr. “Opty’s” conclusions rely on a narrow reading of, and distorts, the actual record. For a complete and accurate representation of the record, Ms. Martin’s website, www.dvmartinlaw.com/MartinvHowardU, not only explains each claim, but uploads the actual Briefs, by all parties and the “friend of the court” Brief of the National Association of Women Lawyers. It also includes all of the District Court decisions and the actual jury verdict form, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals decision and some of the primary sources, or actual evidence in the case, such as the stalker’s letters to Professor Martin.

Mr. Oppty refers us only to the trial court’s last decision in a series of decisions dating back to 1999. It is not the Appellate Court’s decision or any party’s “Briefing” of the issues. In point of fact, the case does ultimately boil down to employment issues, that is, 1) why Howard allowed unrestricted access to its law school office building to a serial stalker; and 2) why Howard did not appropriately consider Professor Martin for further employment.

Whichever side of the issues you come down on, you should answer these questions to your own satisfaction, based on an accurate reading of the record. That which is un-refuted in the record, and supported by the verdict of the trial jury, is: 1) Professor Martin was stalked by a delusional serial stalker at the law school; 2) Professor Martin complained of the stalking to Howard; 3) Howard failed to act on Professor Martin’s complaints; and 4) Professor Martin’s employment with Howard was terminated shortly after she first complained.

Contrary to Mr. Opty’s assertion, the jury actually agreed with Professor Martin, that the stalker, Leonard Harrison, harassed her in her workplace to a point that was so severe and pervasive that it created a hostile work environment for her. The jury also found that Howard failed to take reasonable steps to end the harassment. Despite these jury findings, Professor did not prevail because the jury concluded that the harassment was not “sexual in nature” or “based on sex” – even though the stalker pursued Professor Martin to become his “wife.” Since it was not based on sex, there was no Title VII protection and therefore no statute to stop Howard from retaliating against her.

If stalking is not based on sex –or gender – where a man serially stalks women trying to make one of them his “wife,” then it is hardly imaginable that any woman will ever be able to claim Title VII protection for being stalked in her workplace.

Whether or not Professor Martin had a contract right to continue as a law professor at Howard, Howard did not have the right to reject her for permanent openings because she reported that she had been stalked at the law school. Howard’s actions, in failing to appropriately deal with the stalker, apart from any other considerations, is in and of itself, a separate cause of action that should subject Howard to liability for which it should pay damages.

JAG4584
06-26-2008, 11:05 PM
I have reviewed the case on Attorney Dawn V. Martin's web site and the facts speak for themselves. Luckily, Ms. Martin has not given up and will continue to fight for justice as any other action would fall short.

I admire Attorney Martin's courage and her strength as often it is tough to be a "pioneer" for justice and change. The decision in this case will have a significant impact upon all persons for years to come. This case will be establishing precedent for the future of our nation.

The case is not about money! It is about the law and women's rights in the workplace. If Attorney Martin wanted money I can assure you long before now this matter would have been settled. Settlement is not the answer - justice is!

As a woman and a writer I am ashamed of what some of my colleagues have said in this forum. We must first read and do our homework before we make decisions or write about them. It makes all of us look bad.

I realize this particular matter is not a simple case so it requires a bit more time and brain power granted that many of us don't have.

I am glad that Challenger joined the group and stated the facts as it helps to remind us that it is easy to go off track and to miss the key points. Television and the media can often prohibit critical thinking.

Good post Challenger. This is a great case for all of us to learn from.

Opty
06-26-2008, 11:19 PM
So...you reviewed the case and facts as they were biasedly presented on her own website, and you believe that is using more "brain power" than the rest of us?

You posted the original post in this thread, going on nothing more than the plaintiff's own skewed version of the story. Seems that you still have neglected to seek out any opposing or disconfirming evidence to your opinion and that you're not very open to reviewing and considering all sides of the story, or even acknowledging that other sides even exist. That's pretty closed-minded.

Perhaps you should click the link I provided to the actual case briefing that contains the actual facts and use your superior "time and brain power" to figure out what's really going on in the case, before you come back on here and insult everyone else more for not agreeing with your "unique" perception of events.

robeiae
06-26-2008, 11:31 PM
This is truly priceless. Truly.

Williebee
06-26-2008, 11:46 PM
Challenger, we'd like to thank you for joining the forum. Welcome. I hope you'll stick around for more than just this issue. Let's face it, this is a pretty odd place for this debate to play out.

Howard did not have the right to reject her for permanent openings because she reported that she had been stalked at the law school. Howard’s actions, in failing to appropriately deal with the stalker, apart from any other considerations, is in and of itself, a separate cause of action that should subject Howard to liability for which it should pay damages.

I didn't find anything in the preponderance of paperwork that said the Howard rejected her "because she reported that she had been stalked at the law school."

On the other hand, the school should have taken more serious action to eliminate the threat, if only in the name of safety.

Me? Laws be damned. Flog the guy on the quad and fire Howard.

There is probably good reason that I am not in charge....

Don
06-27-2008, 12:21 AM
I swear to god and everything that is holy.

Does nothing make sense? Am I living in Bizaro world? I know this may seem a bit Wild Wild West like, but thugs are cheap to hire. A couple of thousand usually is enough to take care of someone. You don't have to kill them. Just a beating severe enough to put him in a wheel chair. (Wow did i say that outloud?)

That must sound very 'bad'. But in reality its not. If some wacko is stalking my wife, then he is choosing not to live by the social contract that we all have agreed to. It then becomes a matter of if I would rather my wife be endangered, or I take some action to ensure her safety. When choosing between some wacko stalker and my wife, i'll choose my wife and error on her side vs. 'hoping' that the wacko doesn't hurt her every single day.

Of course, this would be a moot point if the law didn't have loop holes big enough to drive a truck through on this topic. Stalking really is one of those gray areas that the law can't help you with until your life is in imminent danger and by then, it is too late.

Mel...

The government is under no obligation to protect you; that's been decided in court cases already. D.C.'s highest court held there is a


"fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen."


Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981).

That's where the 'self defense' component of the Second Amendment comes into play. By the time the police arrive, it's usually too late to do anything but take the pictures and file the report.

I'll never understand those who would rather see a woman raped in an alleyway and strangled with her own pantyhose than with a gun in her hand.

Opty
06-27-2008, 02:08 AM
Healthy skepticism about any claim is always in order, but Mr. “Opty’s” conclusions rely on a narrow reading of, and distorts, the actual record. For a complete and accurate representation of the record, Ms. Martin’s website, www.dvmartinlaw.com/MartinvHowardU (http://www.dvmartinlaw.com/MartinvHowardU), not only explains each claim, but uploads the actual Briefs, by all parties and the “friend of the court” Brief of the National Association of Women Lawyers. It also includes all of the District Court decisions and the actual jury verdict form, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals decision and some of the primary sources, or actual evidence in the case, such as the stalker’s letters to Professor Martin.

Mr. Oppty refers us only to the trial court’s last decision in a series of decisions dating back to 1999. It is not the Appellate Court’s decision or any party’s “Briefing” of the issues. In point of fact, the case does ultimately boil down to employment issues, that is, 1) why Howard allowed unrestricted access to its law school office building to a serial stalker; and 2) why Howard did not appropriately consider Professor Martin for further employment.

Whichever side of the issues you come down on, you should answer these questions to your own satisfaction, based on an accurate reading of the record. That which is un-refuted in the record, and supported by the verdict of the trial jury, is: 1) Professor Martin was stalked by a delusional serial stalker at the law school; 2) Professor Martin complained of the stalking to Howard; 3) Howard failed to act on Professor Martin’s complaints; and 4) Professor Martin’s employment with Howard was terminated shortly after she first complained.

Contrary to Mr. Opty’s assertion, the jury actually agreed with Professor Martin, that the stalker, Leonard Harrison, harassed her in her workplace to a point that was so severe and pervasive that it created a hostile work environment for her. The jury also found that Howard failed to take reasonable steps to end the harassment. Despite these jury findings, Professor did not prevail because the jury concluded that the harassment was not “sexual in nature” or “based on sex” – even though the stalker pursued Professor Martin to become his “wife.” Since it was not based on sex, there was no Title VII protection and therefore no statute to stop Howard from retaliating against her.

If stalking is not based on sex –or gender – where a man serially stalks women trying to make one of them his “wife,” then it is hardly imaginable that any woman will ever be able to claim Title VII protection for being stalked in her workplace.

Whether or not Professor Martin had a contract right to continue as a law professor at Howard, Howard did not have the right to reject her for permanent openings because she reported that she had been stalked at the law school. Howard’s actions, in failing to appropriately deal with the stalker, apart from any other considerations, is in and of itself, a separate cause of action that should subject Howard to liability for which it should pay damages.

LOL.

It's hard to determine whether or not JAG created this false username just to refute all semblance of reason in this thread, or if Ms. Martin was Googling herself and found a link here and created a screenname to troll this board.

Either way, I give that ludicrous post 8 out of 10 trolls.

Good job!

dgiharris
06-27-2008, 03:36 AM
Hi All,

*bows head in shame*

I umm *kicks rock* skimmed through the so called press release, then made my original post.

But given the recent activity on this, I just skimmed through the actual real case file and now think that it is pretty clear that someone is just upset that she didn't make tenure and is reaching for any excuse to sue.

that is my new opinion.

Disregard my previous post.

Mel...

Mac H.
06-27-2008, 12:40 PM
The key points are:

1. The university had someone for a 2 year contract.
2. Add the end of the 2 year contract the person was no longer employed with them.

That is uncontroversial.

The whole point of a two year contract is that the person isn't MEANT to be employed with them after two years ... that why there is a contract with at time limit on it.

The court looked carefully at whether:

a. There was an obligation for the university to employ her after the contract ended.
b. Whether they had ever told her that she would be employed after her contract ended.

The result was that not only did they not have to employ her, they had never even implied that they would !

The closest thing she could get to claiming that she was 'owed' the position was a colleague (who was not involved in the employment decisions) who assumed that she would be !!!

If the REAL issue is that they didn't restrict access to the building to stop this weirdo from wandering in, then she should stick to that issue and trumpet it.

However by claiming falsely that she was 'fired for being stalked' is simply going to murky up the waters.

Mac

MattW
06-27-2008, 07:35 PM
LOL.

It's hard to determine whether or not JAG created this false username just to refute all semblance of reason in this thread, or if Ms. Martin was Googling herself and found a link here and created a screenname to troll this board.

Either way, I give that ludicrous post 8 out of 10 trolls.

Good job!A month after being quiet, a new poster revives the thread, and then the original poster is there again immediately?

My first thought was: sock puppet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_sock_puppet).