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Title 16: Commercial Practices
§3.41 General hearing rules.
(a) Public hearings. All hearings in adjudicative proceedings shall be public unless an in camera order is entered by the Administrative Law Judge pursuant to §3.45(b) of this chapter or unless otherwise ordered by the Commission.
(b) Expedition. Hearings shall proceed with all reasonable expedition, and, insofar as practicable, shall be held at one place and shall continue, except for brief intervals of the sort normally involved in judicial proceedings, without suspension until concluded. The hearing will take place on the date specified in the notice accompanying the complaint, pursuant to §3.11(b)(4), and should be limited to no more than 210 hours. The Commission, upon a showing of good cause, may order a later date for the evidentiary hearing to commence or extend the number of hours for the hearing. Consistent with the requirements of expedition:
(1) The Administrative Law Judge may order hearings at more than one place and may grant a reasonable recess at the end of a case-in-chief for the purpose of discovery deferred during the prehearing procedure if the Administrative Law Judge determines that such recess will materially expedite the ultimate disposition of the proceeding.
(2) When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before the Administrative Law Judge, the Commission or the Administrative Law Judge may order a joint hearing of any or all the matters in issue in the actions; the Commission or the Administrative Law Judge may order all the actions consolidated; and the Commission or the Administrative Law Judge may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay.
(3) When separate hearings will be conducive to expedition and economy, the Commission or the Administrative Law Judge may order a separate hearing of any claim, or of any separate issue, or of any number of claims or issues.
(4) Each side shall be allotted no more than half of the trial time within which to present its opening statements, in limine motions, all arguments excluding the closing argument, direct or cross examinations, or other evidence.
(5) Each side shall be permitted to make an opening statement that is no more than 2 hours in duration.
(6) Each side shall be permitted to make a closing argument no later than 5 days after the last filed proposed findings. The closing argument shall last no longer than 2 hours.
(c) Rights of parties. Every party, except intervenors, whose rights are determined under §3.14, shall have the right of due notice, cross-examination, presentation of evidence, objection, motion, argument, and all other rights essential to a fair hearing.
(d) Adverse witnesses. An adverse party, or an officer, agent, or employee thereof, and any witness who appears to be hostile, unwilling, or evasive, may be interrogated by leading questions and may also be contradicted and impeached by the party calling him or her.
(e) Requests for an order requiring a witness to testify or provide other information and granting immunity under 18 U.S.C. 6002 shall be disposed of in accordance with §3.39.
(f) Collateral federal court actions. (1) The pendency of a collateral federal court action that relates to the administrative adjudication shall not stay the proceeding:
(i) Unless a court of competent jurisdiction, or the Commission for good cause, so directs; or
(ii) Except as provided in §3.26.
(2) A stay shall toll any deadlines set by the rules.
[74 FR 1830, Jan. 13, 2009, as amended at 80 FR 15162, Mar. 23, 2015]