744 F.2d 868 (D.C. Cir. 1984), 83-1305, Pope v. Railroad Retirement Bd.

Docket Nº:83-1305, 83-1422.
Citation:744 F.2d 868
Party Name:Wilhelmina POPE et al., Appellants v. The RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD et al. Edwin THRASH et al., Appellants v. The RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD et al.
Case Date:October 02, 1984
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
 
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Page 868

744 F.2d 868 (D.C. Cir. 1984)

Wilhelmina POPE et al., Appellants

v.

The RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD et al.

Edwin THRASH et al., Appellants

v.

The RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD et al.

Nos. 83-1305, 83-1422.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

October 2, 1984

Argued Dec. 7, 1983.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (D.C.Civil Nos. 77-2166 & 78-0313).

Gill Deford, Los Angeles, Cal., with whom Neal S. Dudovitz, Los Angeles, Cal., Jan May, Burton D. Fretz, and Toby S. Edelman, Washington, D.C., were on the brief, for appellants.

Nathan Dodell, Asst. U.S. Atty., Washington, D.C., with whom Stanley S. Harris, U.S. Atty., Washington, D.C., at the time the brief was filed, Royce C. Lamberth, R.

Page 869

Craig Lawrence, and Michael J. Ryan, Asst. U.S. Attys., Washington, D.C., and Arthur A. Arfa, Atty., Railroad Retirement Board, Chicago, Ill., were on the brief, for appellees.

Before WRIGHT and TAMM, Circuit Judges, and SWYGERT, [*] Senior Circuit Judge.

Opinion PER CURIAM.

PER CURIAM.

The issue is whether the district court erred in denying attorney fees and costs to plaintiffs-appellants under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2412(d). Plaintiffs' request for an allowance of these items grows out of a lawsuit relating to the notice procedures used by the United States Railroad Retirement Board in its recoupment of alleged excess payments of annuities pursuant to the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974, 45 U.S.C. Secs. 231 et seq. The essential facts underlying the present dispute are recited in our decision on the merits of the litigation. Pope v. U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, and Thrash v. U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, 672 F.2d 972 (D.C.Cir.1982). We see no need to repeat them.

The procedural history of the litigation starts with the filing of a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on December 21, 1977 by Wilhelmina Pope and Edward Williams as named plaintiffs in a class action against the Railroad Retirement Board. Plaintiffs and members of their class are annuitants under the Act who received alleged overpayments of annuities and who had their monthly benefits reduced so that the Annuity Fund established under the Act could be reimbursed. Their complaint alleged that the Board had denied them their statutory and constitutional rights by failing to notify them of available procedures whereby they might contest their overpayment determinations or request a waiver of recoupment. 1

In February 1978 plaintiff-appellants Thrash, McCullough, Colleen Childs, and Darlene Childs filed a similar action in the federal district court, and the two cases were consolidated.

The course of the litigation is generally described by Judge Nichols in our previous decision. During pendency of the suit the Board, as Judge Nichols relates...

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