Victory Outreach Ministries, Inc et al v. Rockville Bank et al
ORDER denying 23 Motion to Certify Class and 28 Motion to Certify Class and dismissing the claims of plaintiffs Victory Outreach Ministries, Inc., Barbara Joyce Saunders, Laurie A. Saunders, Kevin R. Saunders, Jr., Kyle E. Saunders, Karrie L. Saunders, Krista L. Saunders, Sherri L. Saunders, Shelli L. McDougal, and Shelbi Bock. The Clerk is directed to terminate these parties as plaintiffs in this case. Signed by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on 06/11/14. (Rock, K.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
VICTORY OUTREACH MINISTRIES, INC.,
ROCKVILLE BANK, ET AL.,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
JUNE 11, 2014
ORDER DISMISSING CLAIMS OF UNREPRESENTED PERSONS
AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTIONS FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION
[Dkts. 23 & 28]
This action was filed by Kevin R. Saunders, Sr., purportedly on behalf of
himself, Victory Outreach Ministries, Inc. and the members of the Saunders
Family. Mr. Saunders does not include a Bar Number in any of his pleadings,
does not appear on the list of attorneys admitted to practice before this court nor
has he filed an application and qualified to appear pro hac vice. Although
litigants in federal court have a statutory right to act as their own counsel, 28
U.S.C. § 1654, the statute does not permit “unlicensed laymen to represent
anyone other than themselves.” Lattanzio v. COMTA, 481 F.3d 137, 139 (2d
Cir.2007) (quotation and citation omitted). Plaintiff Kevin R. Saunders, Sr. may
maintain an action on his own behalf. However, if he is not a licensed attorney,
he may not represent the other individual plaintiffs named in this case. Nor may a
layperson represent a separate legal entity, such as a corporation or a church.
See Lattanzio, 481 F.3d at 139 (“[A] layperson may not represent a separate legal
entity such as a corporation.”) (citation omitted). The Complaint is signed only by
Kevin R. Saunders, Sr., who purports to sign the Complaint “On behalf of the
VICTORY OUTREACH MINISTRIES INC. and the members of the Saunders
Family.” Kevin R. Saunders, Sr. is the only plaintiff to sign any of the documents
filed in this action. As he has no legal authority to act on behalf of anyone but
himself in this court, he cannot file suit on behalf of others and the Court
accordingly dismisses all claims which he purports to bring on behalf of other
A layperson may not bring a class action lawsuit. See, e.g., Biro v. Cuomo,
No. 12-cv-6189, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42456, at *2 n.2 (Mar. 27, 2014) (“Although
Plaintiff purports to seek relief on behalf of a similarly situated class of plaintiffs,
it is well-established that ‘a pro se litigant . . . is not empowered to proceed on
behalf of anyone other than himself.’”) (quoting Barnes v. Ross, 926 F. Supp. 2d
499, 505 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)). Accordingly, plaintiffs’ motions for class certification,
[Dkt. nos. 23 & 28], are denied.
Finally, plaintiff Victory Outreach Ministries, Inc. is not an individual and
cannot represent itself, proceeding pro se, and its claims are dismissed. The
Supreme Court has explicitly held that except for in a few circumstances, none of
which appear to be present here, “corporations, partnerships, or associations”
may not appear pro se in federal court, and must be represented by a licensed
attorney. Rowland v. Cal. Men’s Colony, 506 U.S. 194, 201-02 (1993) (citations
The claims of the following parties are dismissed, and the Clerk is directed
to terminate them as plaintiffs in this action: Victory Outreach Ministries, Inc.,
Barbara Joyce Saunders, Laurie A. Saunders, Kevin R. Saunders, Jr., Kyle E.
Saunders, Karrie L. Saunders, Krista L. Saunders, Sherri L. Saunders, Shelli L.
McDougal, and Shelbi Bock.
Any person or entity whose claims were dismissed hereby may move to
intervene if a natural person, pro se, or if an entity, through an attorney, on or
before July 2, 2014.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. Vanessa L. Bryant
United States District Judge
Dated at Hartford, Connecticut: June 11, 2013
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?