Munger Tolles Joins in Filing Suit To Restore Housing for Homeless Veterans

Munger, Tolles & Olson, along with Arnold & Porter, the ACLU and other counsel, filed suit June 8 against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, seeking to remedy decades of misuse of a 387-acre West Los Angeles parcel deeded in 1888 for the specific purpose of housing disabled U.S. veterans. The federal class action complaint alleges that the Department of Veterans Affairs has failed to provide necessary housing and treatment for homeless veterans and instead has leased nearly 30 percent of the property to private entities, while other parts of the West Los Angeles VA campus remain vacant or underused.

"We have acres and acres available," Munger Tolles name partner Ronald L. Olson told the Los Angeles Times. "We need to supply the kind of supportive housing that will allow [veterans] to get care." Los Angeles is the homeless veterans capital of the U.S., with an estimated 107,000 homeless veterans nationwide and 8,200 of those living in the L.A. area. 

The suit was filed on behalf of a putative class of homeless veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions; the Vietnam Veterans of America; and a descendant of Arcadia de Baker, one of the original donors of the property. In addition to veterans facilities, the federal property is now home to Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Tumbleweed Transportation, Sodexho Marriott and Brentwood Private School. The government has refused requests to make a public accounting respecting the proceeds of these private leases.

Munger Tolles attorneys working on the case include Mr. Olson and John M. Rappaport.

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.