Key Decisions

October 2012 – Inadequacies In The Opposition

(filed under: Key Decisions Archive | October 24, 2012)

Other Cases Of Interest

Inadequacies In The Opposition To A Summary Judgment Motion Warranted Granting The Motion

Batarse v. Service Employees International Union Local 1000
(Cal. Ct. of App., 5th Dist.), filed September 4, 2012

Ray Batarse worked for Service Employees International Union Local 1000 (“SEIU”). SEIU fired Batarse, ostensibly because of, among other things, misrepresentations he made in applying for the job.

Batarse sued SEIU for racial and gender discrimination, retaliation, negligent supervision and retention, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

SEIU moved for summary judgment. Batarse filed a memorandum of points and authorities in opposition to the motion, along with several declarations and an opposition to SEIU’s separate statement of undisputed material facts. The opposition to the separate statement indicated almost all of SEIU’s facts were undisputed. In response to some fact statements, Batarse indicated the fact was disputed, but failed to identify any evidence supporting the existence of a dispute. Only a few of Batarse’s responses to SEIU’s factual statements indicated the fact was disputed and cited supporting evidence. Further, Batarse did not file a separate statement of additional material facts in an attempt to show that a triable issue of fact existed regarding whether SEIU’s asserted legitimate reason for terminating his employment was actually a pretext for discrimination. Batarse’s memorandum of points and authorities, however, included facts and citations to supporting evidence that were not included in his opposition to SEIU’s separate statement.

The day after his opposition was filed, Batarse presented an ex parte application seeking to continue the hearing of the motion for summary judgment in order to permit him to conduct further discovery. SEIU opposed the application and the trial court denied it.

SEIU filed its reply to the opposition to its motion. It pointed out, among other things, that Batarse had not disputed sufficient facts in his separate statement to raise a triable issue of material fact.

The trial court granted SEIU’s motion based in large part on the deficiencies in Batarse’s separate statement.

The Court of Appeal affirmed.

Under Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, each disputed fact must be followed by a reference to supporting evidence and the failure to comply with this requirement may constitute a sufficient ground, in the court’s discretion, for granting the motion.

After evaluating the cases addressing separate statements, the court held that under the particular circumstances, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in basing its ruling on the inadequacy of Batarse’s separate statement.

The court also held that given what facts Batarse did admit, he would have lost the motion even if his separate statement did comply with the requirements for a separate statement.