A Victory for the Veterans

On March 16, Judge James Otero of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California rejected the federal government’s attempts to dismiss a lawsuit brought by homeless veterans in Los Angeles seeking meaningful access to mental health and other services and to address the appropriate use of the West Los Angeles VA Campus. Munger, Tolles & Olson attorneys Ronald L. Olson and John M. Rappaport, along with the law firm of Arnold & Porter, the ACLU and other counsel, represented the veterans in the case.

In elaborating on the opinion, Mark Rosenbaum, chief counsel of the ACLU of Southern California, stated, “Judge Otero’s ruling denying the VA’s motion to dismiss marks the first time in the nation’s history that a federal court has held the VA responsible for assuring that severely mentally disabled veterans have access to housing and services that they can access the psychiatric and medical services they require to heal the wounds of war.”

In regards to the Los Angeles land dispute directly, Mr. Rosenbaum stated that “the decision means that the VA campus in Los Angeles must be restored to its intended purpose to serve veterans, not house UCLA and private school baseball diamonds, dog parks and rental car lots.”

The ruling marks a significant victory in the veterans’ fight for necessary housing and support.

Mr. Olson is a name partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger Tolles. His practice involves a combination of litigation and corporate counseling.

Mr. Rappaport is a litigator in the firm’s Los Angeles office. His practice covers a range of trial and appellate matters.