RICKS v. UNITED STATES RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 04/27/2021. (zsb)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
VICKY MONROE-RICKS, et al.,
UNITED STATES RAILROAD
APR 27 2021
Clerk, U.S. District & Bankruptcy
Court for the District of Columbia
Civil Action No. 1:21-cv-00799 (UNA)
This matter is before the court on its initial review of plaintiffs’ pro se complaint and
application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). Plaintiff, Vicky Monroe-Ricks, brings
this action on behalf of herself and her spouse, “Mr. Ricks.” Both plaintiffs appear to reside in
Suitland, Maryland. See Compl., ECF No. 1, at 1. She has filed suit against the United States
Railroad Retirement Board (“RRB”), including the RRB Hearings & Appeals Office, and the
“whole railroad retirement board systemically.” See id. at 2.
While plaintiff makes passing reference to discrimination and various other constitutional
violations, as well as unspecified tort claims, see id. at 3, 7, at root, plaintiff is aggrieved that RRB
“fail[ed] to pay [Mr. Ricks] his RRB benefits causing damages[,]” see id. at 4, 6–7.
specifically, plaintiff alleges that, since the time that Mr. Ricks retired due to disability, he has
been unfairly denied his retirement benefits, and that he “should also be receiving allotments for
[his] spouse and dependent children[.]” Id. at 6. She attests that these denials have been appealed
administratively and that the determinations have been unlawfully affirmed without merit. See id.
She demands that the court assess the RRB’s determinations and order the issuance of all benefits
owed. See id. at 7. She also demands additional compensatory damages. See id.
First, Ms. Monroe-Ricks has not complied with the requirement of the Local Rules of this
court that a plaintiff “filing pro se in forma pauperis must provide in the [complaint’s] caption the
name and full residence address or official address of each party.” LCvR 5.1(c)(1). She has failed
to provide a residence address for either herself or her spouse. The information regarding “Mr.
Ricks,” is yet greater lacking; the initiating filings are, in fact, devoid of his full name. This is
Second, Ms. Monroe-Ricks has filed a joint IFP application on behalf of herself and her
husband, and has conflated both of their financial circumstances, which she may not do. As a
general rule, a pro se litigant can represent only himself or herself in federal court. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1654 ("In all courts of the United States the parties may plead and conduct their own cases
personally or by counsel[.]"); Georgiades v. Martin-Trigona, 729 F.2d 831, 834 (D.C. Cir. 1984)
(same); U.S. ex rel. Rockefeller v. Westinghouse Elec. Co., 274 F. Supp. 2d 10, 16 (D.D.C. 2003)
(same), affd sub nom. Rockefeller ex rel. U.S. v. Washington TRU Solutions LLC, No. 03-7120,
2004 WL 180264 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 21, 2004). This requirement includes the submission of separate
and individually executed IFP applications. See generally, 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Mr. Ricks has not
submitted his own IFP application and without properly detailed IFP applications, individually
executed and filed by each plaintiff, the court lacks the information by which it may assess
plaintiffs’ respective financial statuses at this juncture. Thus, the court will deny the joint IFP
application and dismiss the complaint without prejudice to refiling.
The court notes, however, that should either plaintiff determine to refile this litigation anew
and in accordance with the parameters described above (or alternatively upon submission of the
filing fee), there are yet additional deficiencies. For example, Mr. Ricks has not signed the
complaint and there is no indicia of his voluntary participation in this matter. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
11(a). Furthermore, there is no information provided to establish that he is unable to litigate this
case himself as a party, or that Ms. Monroe-Ricks is legally entitled to bring this suit on his behalf
as his proxy. And even if Ms. Monroe-Ricks were proceeding solely for herself, this court lacks
jurisdiction over these claims because only certain federal courts of appeals have the authority to
review final decisions of the Railroad Retirement Board. See 45 U.S.C. § 355(f).
For all of these reasons, all of the joint IFP application is denied and this matter is dismissed
without prejudice. Plaintiffs’ pending motion for default, ECF No. 3, is also denied. A separate
order accompanies this memorandum opinion.
Date: April 27, 2021
TIMOTHY J. KELLY
United States District Judge
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