Court, county, judicial council and Mallery face federal lawsuit filed by former veteran employee

As the community anxiously awaits the upcoming decision from the California Judicial Council regarding the conduct of Lassen County Superior Court Judge Tony Mallery in March, Crystal Jones, a former veteran court employee filed a federal lawsuit on Friday seeking general damages, special damages, injunctive and affirmative relief, attorney’s fees, penalties as provided by law, punitive damages, costs of the suit, prejudgment interest, other and further relief as the court may deem just and proper and a demand for a jury trial.

Lassen County Superior Court Judge Tony Mallery.

Defendants in the suit include Lassen County Superior Court, Lassen County, the California Judicial Council, Mallery and Does 1-50.

Jones cites as causes of action — discrimination and harassment in violation of Fair Employee and Housing Act (because she is more than 40 years old), retaliation for protected activity, sex/gender violation, sex/gender harassment, retaliation for protected activity, failure to prevent discrimination, and violations of the First, Fifth and 14 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. According to the court document, Jones received a Notice of Right to Sue within one year Jan. 30, 2023.

According to the court document, Jones served as a contract employee from 2002 to 2004 when she became a full-time court clerk. In 2014 she advanced to become the court’s Operations Supervisor.

Jones alleges Mallery threatened and retaliated against her and other court staff for cooperating with the commission’s investigation of him. The judge allegedly hired an investigator “to retaliate” against employees who cooperated with the commission, and he sought to demote and then later, fire her.

According to the court document Mallery identified Jones as a “‘snitch’ who would ‘stab you in the back’ and that ‘snitches get stiches.’ Defendant Mallery would at times yell rant and raise his fists at plaintiff in a threatening manner … During the internal investigation … Mallery told a court employee that employees (who) were cooperating with the commission were getting ‘payback’ or ‘what’s coming to them’ or words to that effect.”

Jones alleges she was forced to resign her government employment in June 2022, suffering economic loss, and that she “has endured pain and suffering in the form of great anxiety, anger, depression, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life and emotional distress … “

A similar previous lawsuit
In January 2017, Andi Barone, the Lassen County Superior Court’s executive officer, accepted an “offer of judgment” to settle her lawsuit against the Superior Court of California, County of Lassen; the California Judicial Council; the California Administrative Office of the Courts; Mallery and 10 as yet unidentified defendants.

According to the Plaintiff’s Notice of Acceptance of Rule 68 Offer of Judgment, filed Dec. 20, 2016, with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, the Superior Court of California, County of Lassen, Barone will be paid $100,001 plus all costs of the suit incurred.

Barone, 19-year veteran employee at the courthouse, filed the lawsuit in February 2016 alleging discrimination and harassment in violation of Title VII; retaliation for protected activity in violation of Title VII; sex/gender discrimination in violation of California Government Code Section 12940(a); sex/gender discrimination in violation of California Government Code Section 12940(i); retaliation for protected activity in violation of California Government Code Section 12940(h); failure to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation in violation of California Government Code Section 12940(k) and retaliation for whistle blowing and interference with protected activity in violation of California Government Code Section 8547.13.

Other alleged “wrongful conduct” by Mallery included yelling, ranting and raising his fists at plaintiff; loud, angry and belligerent badgering of plaintiff and her staff; intimidation and belittling of plaintiff and female staff; refusing to follow court protocols; ordering plaintiff and other court staff to perform illegal and improper acts; ordering plaintiff and other court staff to perform acts forbidden by the code of ethics applicable to court employees; shunning plaintiff; bypassing plaintiff, refusing to meet or communicate with plaintiff or even be in the same room with her; refusing to acknowledge the authority of plaintiff; refusing to call plaintiff by name and instead referring to her as “B;” continually refusing to cooperate with plaintiff’s efforts to ensure compliance with the court’s legal and ethical obligations; interfering with plaintiff’s training, monitoring and supervision of court staff; interfering with plaintiff’s clerk assignments and scheduling; refusing to comply with the court’s calendaring protocols, thereby inconveniencing court interpreters, reporters and others and making difficult for plaintiff and her staff to obtain needed support services; undermining plaintiff’s authority as CEO; and disrupting and damaging plaintiff’s relationships with subordinates, sheriff’s, auxiliary service providers, public defenders, district attorneys, probation officers and other individuals.