Batarse v. Service Employees Int’l Union, 209 Cal. App. 4th 820 (2012)

Ray Batarse sued the SEIU for race discrimination, among other things, associated with the termination of his employment. The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment based upon Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 437c(b)(3) because of Batarse’s failure to include a separate statement of disputed and undisputed facts. Batarse asserted on appeal that the court had abused its discretion by failing to grant him a continuance in order to file a proper separate statement. The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment for the SEIU after determining that Batarse had not established any prejudice arising from the denial of an opportunity to correct the defective separate statement because the evidence cited by Batarse in his opposition to the motion was insufficient to raise a triable issue of material fact. Among other things, the court noted that the SEIU had produced substantial evidence of legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for the termination – including that Batarse had made false statements regarding his law practice during the application process and had failed to disclose that he had resigned from the State Bar while disciplinary charges were pending against him. Moreover, when the decision was made to terminate his employment, the SEIU decision-maker was not aware of Batarse’s race or national origin or of any complaints he may have made about discrimination, harassment or retaliation. Batarse failed to establish that any of these reasons for the SEIU’s termination decision was pretext for discrimination or retaliation.