Schmidt v. Superior Court, 44 Cal. App. 5th 570 (2020)

Tamika Schmidt and Danielle Penny, two employees at the Hall of Justice for Ventura Superior Court, claimed they were sexually harassed by a security guard named David Jacques. Schmidt and Penny claimed that Jacques had sexually harassed them with a metal detecting wand during the courthouse entry screening process. All security screening occurred in public and was captured on video. The trial court determined that none of the video supported the allegations. After a lengthy bench trial, the trial court ruled that plaintiffs had not proved their allegations. In this appeal, the employees claimed the trial court erroneously failed to credit testimony favorable to them and that the judge was biased against them. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment in favor of the Superior Court, holding that the judgment was supported by substantial evidence and that there was no hostile environment sexual harassment at the courthouse. Finally, plaintiffs did not protest the trial judge’s alleged bias against them until they received the adverse results at the end of the trial.