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Mediation fails in ACLU lawsuit over VA leases at West L.A. campus

UCLA baseball stadium
UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium, on property in West Los Angeles leased from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)

Mediation between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Civil Liberties Union has failed to resolve a long-running dispute over leases on the sprawling West Los Angeles campus.

Tenants on the 387-acre property include a private school, a laundry service for nearby hotels, a parking lot operator and a UCLA baseball stadium.

In a 2011 lawsuit filed on behalf of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, the ACLU challenged the legality of those agreements, arguing that VA real estate should be used to house homeless veterans. The VA argued that the leases produce revenue for healthcare.

A U.S. district court judge ruled in August that the VA had abused its discretion in issuing the leases and gave the agency six months to enforce his judgment.

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The judge ruled against the ACLU on its additional claims that VA policies discriminated against homeless veterans with mental illness and violated the terms of the 1888 deed which turned over the property.

Both sides appealed to the 9th Circuit, which sent the parties to mediation.

On Tuesday, the court issued an order calling for opening briefs in the case. Mediation was officially over.

Follow the reporter on Twitter: @alanzarembo

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