LOS ANGELES -- The Honorable S. James Otero denied motions by the Regents of the University of California and Brentwood School to set aside an earlier ruling that numerous land deals approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on its campus in West Los Angeles were illegal. Attorneys for UCLA and Brentwood School said in legal motions filed late last month that they did not understand that the lawsuit, Valentini v. Shinseki, filed more than two years ago on behalf of veterans who are homeless because of their severe disabilities, could affect their land deals with the VA.
“The decision denying intervention means that the VA campus must be the home of the brave, not of the Bruins, as UCLA had urged,” said Mark Rosenbaum, chief counsel of the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal). “UCLA should be more concerned about homeless vets than arguing that its college baseball team will become homeless as it stated in its legal papers. Hopefully too, it will incentivize UCLA and Brentwood school to lobby the VA to make the phrase homeless veterans an American oxymoron.”
"The Order upholds our victory in the case,” said John Ulin, a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP. "Defending the campus's true mandate, the court made clear again that the VA must finally use it to provide our veterans with the benefits they have earned."
The class-action lawsuit filed in June 2011 contends that the VA discriminates against veterans who are homeless as a result of their severe mental disabilities. Homeless veterans cannot access medical, mental health and other services to which they are entitled. 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, until the VA leased out to private companies, such as a rental car business and Sodexho Marriott for a laundry facility.
In August 2013, the federal court ruled the VA violated federal law when it leased portions of its sprawling West LA campus to 11 businesses and organizations, including UCLA and the private Brentwood School, for purposes unrelated to providing medical care or treatment for homeless and disabled veterans.
Link to order here: http://www.aclusocal.org/cases/valentini-v-shinseki/order-stopping-motion/
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