Estate of Carlos Bassatt v School District No. 1 in the City and County of Denver

Bassatt sued District alleging discrimination in the decision to terminate him from his student teaching position. The district court granted summary judgment to District. Estate was substituted as a party when Bassatt died while the case was pending. The panel affirmed. It held that it was bound by the state appellate decision as to whether a prima facia case was stated, but, was not bound by the subsequent administrative finding that the ground for Bassatt’s termination was pretextual. It next held that estate was properly given the burden of proof on the pretext issue as the plaintiff bears that burden in Title Vii cases. It held that district court properly found that the principal (who like Bassatt is Latino) made a credibility determination between Bassatt and his accuser, subjectively believed Bassatt had masturbated in his car while on school grounds  and thus the termination was not based on a pretext given the principal’s need to secure student safety. The panel finally affirmed dismissal of the 42 USC 1981 and 1983 actions based on the lack of an employment contract and lack of pretext.