Valentini v. Shinseki

Case Information

Full Name : Gregory Valentini, Adrian Mararu, Jane Doe, and Chris Romine, on behalf of themselves and all those similarly situated, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Carolina Winston Barrie v. Eric Shinseki, in his official capacity, Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs; Donna M. Beiter, in her official capacity, Director, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

Case Number : CV1104046

Court : United States District Court for the Central District of California

Judge : Hon. S. James Otero

Co-Counsel : Laurence H. Tribe, Harvard Law School; Gary Blasi, UCLA School of Law, Inner City Law Center; Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP; Arnold & Porter LLP

Valentini v. Shinseki is a class action lawsuit against Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and the director of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System on behalf of homeless veterans with severe disabilities.  The suit contends that the VA’s benefits program discriminates against veterans who are homeless as a result of their severe mental disabilities, because they cannot access the medical, mental health and other services to which they are entitled.

A robust body of research has established that homeless individuals with severe mental disabilities cannot access necessary medical and mental services without stable living conditions combined with supportive treatment services. Although the VA has recognized the importance of such supportive housing for seriously disabled homeless veterans, it has refused to offer them to Plaintiffs and other disabled veterans in Los Angeles and around the country.

The suit also challenges the misuse of the 387-acre West LA VA campus, which was deeded to the United States in 1888 for the specific purpose of providing a home for disabled veterans, which it did for nearly 80 years, but which now is leased out to private companies, such as a rental car business and Sodexho Marriott for a laundry facility.  The VA has not publicly disclosed how much it is being paid for these private deals or where the money from them is going.  The Court denied the Government’s motion to dismiss the case, and we are now focused on taking the case to trial.

Case Developments

RULING
October 21, 2013

The Court denies the Regents of the University of California and the Brentwood School’s motion to challenge its previous ruling. Read the order.

RULING
August 29, 2013

The Court ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) violated federal law when it leased portions of its sprawling West L.A. campus to 11 businesses and organizations for purposes unrelated to providing medical care or treatment for homeless and disabled veterans. Read the judgment.

RULING
March 16, 2012

The Court denied the Government’s motion to dismiss the case, finding that we had stated a valid claim of disability discrimination and a valid claim that the private commercial land deals violate the statutes governing use of the VA land. Read the ruling.

UPDATE
August 12, 2011

Complaint was amended to include additional plaintiffs and a claim that the misuse of the land violates statutes governing the use of the campus. Read the complaint.

FILING
June 8, 2011

ACLU SoCal filed a lawsuit against VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and the director of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System on behalf of homeless veterans with severe disabilities. Read more about the suit.