Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lawsuit Filed to Block Sale of Japanese Garden

Below is the text of a press release announcing a lawsuit to block the sale of the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden by UCLA. Below that you will find the actual lawsuit. The suit focuses on the pledge by the university/Regents to maintain the garden "in perpetuity" and, if necessary, use proceeds from selling the associated residence for such maintenance.
John R. Walton
Law Offices of John R. Walton, P.C.
Phone: 626.578.6000 Fax: 626.578.6012

Los Angeles, California, May 7, 2012 - A lawsuit was filed today in the Los Angeles Superior Court to block the proposed sale of the historic Hannah Carter Japanese Garden, which covers over an acre in Bel Air.

The plaintiffs are suing the Regents of the University of California for breach of contract. The plaintiffs allege that the Regents signed a contract to maintain the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden in perpetuity. Instead, the Regents plan to sell the garden and keep the money.

The Regents acquired the garden years ago, along with an adjacent parcel worth millions of dollars, from the late Edward and Hannah Carter pursuant to a written agreement. The plaintiffs are the heirs of Hannah Carter. They want the Court to order the Regents to preserve the garden, not sell it.

The Hannah Carter Japanese Garden was designed in 1959 by a world-renowned Japanese landscape architect named Nagao Sakurai, and is modeled on the gardens of Kyoto. It is recognized as one of the finest examples of Japanese gardens in North America. Many structures in the garden, including the main gate, the garden house, bridges and a shrine, were built in Japan and reassembled here. Construction of the garden was completed in 1961.

The Regents' plan to sell the garden has generated national attention and has been addressed by the Huffington Post (  Supporters of the garden have set up a website: According to the website, numerous individuals and civic groups have signed an online petition urging the
Regents to save the garden, including the Los Angeles Conservancy, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the American Public Gardens Association.

The original source of this press release and the lawsuit below was:

The text of the lawsuit can be read below:

In earlier posts on this blog, it has been noted that the UCLA Faculty Association does not have a position on the sale per se.  However, concerns have been raised about the handling by UCLA of this matter, particularly as it may affect future donors who could have doubts about the long-term willingness to carry out the terms of donations.  

In any event, it appears that now the lawyers are coming and the garden may have a second life:
Update: The Daily Bruin write-up on the lawsuit is at:

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