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Roundtree v. Amtrak National Railroad Passenger Corp.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

December 1, 2016

YVONNE ROUNDTREE, Plaintiff,
v.
AMTRAK NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION,[1] Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          Ellen L. Hollander United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Yvonne Roundtree is a Maryland resident who appears to be domiciled in Maryland. On October 12 2016, she filed a complaint in this court, based on diversity of citizenship of the parties, presenting claims of personal injury and discrimination. ECF 1; ECF 4-1 at 4. Roundtree seeks $1 million dollars for personal injury and $1 million dollars for a “Civil Rights VI Violation.” ECF 1 at 5.

         Roundtree, who is self-represented, initially filed her complaint, as well as a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, on Maryland state court forms. ECF 1; ECF 2. On October 28, 2016, I ordered plaintiff to file her complaint and her request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appropriate federal forms, due within fourteen days. ECF 3. Roundtree belatedly submitted a second copy of the state court in forma pauperis form (ECF 4), as well as a supplement to her complaint. ECF 4-1.

         I. Roundtree's Claims

         Roundtree claims she was injured on February 8, 2016, when she was exiting an Amtrak train at the station in Trenton, New Jersey. ECF 1; ECF 4-1. She also claims an Amtrak employee discriminated against her in a separate incident on August 4, 2016, at an unspecified location. Id.

         A. Personal Injury Claim

         Roundtree claims that as she was exiting Amtrak train No. 188 at 9:30 p.m. on February 8, 2016, with her last bag, the train began to move. ECF 1 at 2. The train door was open, so she jumped onto the station platform, where she had left her pocketbook and another bag. Id. The train stopped and she informed the train attendant of what happened. Id. Roundtree asserts that she is being treated for back and hip injury, presumably as a result of the incident. Id.; see also ECF 1-1 (medical records); ECF 4-1.

         B. Discrimination Claim

         Roundtree presents her second claim as follows, ECF 1 at 2; see also ECF 4-1:

Mr. D. Kraus #487, Amttrak [sic] Officer terminated; he grabbed my luggage and would not let me enter the train, Even [sic] though I had a ticket; another black worker Rashad also was involved; want them both terminated I was only refunded $53, Amtrak owes me $51 dollars, my fare was $110.00, I did report this incident to customer service.
I had to get other transportation out of Baltimore.

         Roundtree does not state where this incident occurred or the factual basis of the alleged discrimination. Although Roundtree states she is a senior citizen, she does not allege the Amtrak employee's action constituted discrimination due to her age. Roundtree appended several pages of attachments to her suit, suggesting that she may be relying on the Americans with Disabilities Act. See, e.g., ECF 1 at 6-8.

         II. Discussion

         Federal civil pleading rules provide for a minimal pleading standard to ensure that the adverse party is reasonably informed of asserted causes of action, such that he/it can file a responsive answer and prepare an adequate defense. Fed.R.Civ.P 8(a)(2). Except in certain specified cases, a plaintiff's complaint need only satisfy the “simplified pleading standard” of Rule 8(a). Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, N.A.,534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002). This ...


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