Judge Denies Motions to Dismiss Key Portions of Class-Action Suit
By Dolores Quintana
A federal judge has indicated that there is the potential for a trial next year in a lawsuit challenging land leases on West Los Angeles’ Veterans Affairs (VA) campus, including leases to UCLA and a private school, according to the Los Angeles Times. The lawsuit addresses what veterans believe is the slow progress of the VA’s commitment to constructing housing for homeless veterans.
U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, in a tentative ruling that the judge has stated is subject to change, has rejected motions seeking to dismiss critical aspects of the class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit’s primary objectives are to declare the leases as illegal and to compel the VA to accelerate the provision of housing for the thousands of homeless veterans in need.
Judge Carter delivered the pre-written tentative ruling following an extensive 3½-hour hearing on September 18. He acknowledged that arguments presented by lawyers representing both veterans and the VA had led him to “rethink the entire jurisprudence.”
The key point in the ruling was that the judge believed the VA’s responsibility to “evaluate the management of leases or land use to ensure that they advance the purpose of providing housing and services that principally benefit veterans and their families.”
While the judge did not reveal his leaning on the matter, he has granted the involved parties until September 29 to provide responses to the tentative ruling before he reaches a final decision. He also stated that, as quoted by The Los Angeles Times, “I’m not signing off with anything that doesn’t have accountability.”