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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of July 22, 2014

Title 16: Commercial Practices
PART 3—RULES OF PRACTICE FOR ADJUDICATIVE PROCEEDINGS


Subpart C—Prehearing Procedures; Motions; Interlocutory Appeals; Summary Decisions


Contents
§3.21   Prehearing procedures.
§3.22   Motions.
§3.23   Interlocutory appeals.
§3.24   Summary decisions.
§3.25   Consent agreement settlements.
§3.26   Motions following denial of preliminary injunctive relief.

§3.21   Prehearing procedures.

(a) Meeting of the parties before scheduling conference. As early as practicable before the prehearing scheduling conference described in paragraph (b) of this section, but in any event no later than 5 days after the answer is filed by the last answering respondent, counsel for the parties shall meet to discuss the nature and basis of their claims and defenses and the possibilities for a prompt settlement or resolution of the case. The parties shall also agree, if possible, on—

(1) A proposed discovery plan specifically addressing a schedule for depositions of fact witnesses, the production of documents and electronically stored information, and the timing of expert discovery pursuant to §3.31A. The parties' agreement regarding electronically stored information should include the scope of and a specified time period for the exchange of such information that is subject to §§3.31(b)(2), 3.31(c), and 3.37(a), and the format for the disclosure of such information, consistent with §§3.31(c)(3) and 3.37(c);

(2) A preliminary estimate of the time required for the evidentiary hearing; and

(3) Any other matters to be determined at the scheduling conference.

(b) Scheduling conference. Not later than 10 days after the answer is filed by the last answering respondent, the Administrative Law Judge shall hold a scheduling conference. At the scheduling conference, counsel for the parties shall be prepared to address:

(1) Their factual and legal theories;

(2) The current status of any pending motions;

(3) A schedule of proceedings that is consistent with the date of the evidentiary hearing set by the Commission;

(4) Steps taken to preserve evidence relevant to the issues raised by the claims and defenses;

(5) The scope of anticipated discovery, any limitations on discovery, and a proposed discovery plan, including the disclosure of electronically stored information;

(6) Issues that can be narrowed by agreement or by motion, suggestions to expedite the presentation of evidence at trial, and any request to bifurcate issues, claims or defenses; and

(7) Other possible agreements or steps that may aid in the just and expeditious disposition of the proceeding and to avoid unnecessary cost.

(c) Prehearing scheduling order. (1) Not later than 2 days after the scheduling conference, the Administrative Law Judge shall enter an order that sets forth the results of the conference and establishes a schedule of proceedings that will permit the evidentiary hearing to commence on the date set by the Commission, including a plan of discovery that addresses the deposition of fact witnesses, timing of expert discovery, and the production of documents and electronically stored information, dates for the submission and hearing of motions, the specific method by which exhibits shall be numbered or otherwise identified and marked for the record, and the time and place of a final prehearing conference. The Commission may, upon a showing of good cause, order a later date for the evidentiary hearing than the one specified in the complaint.

(2) The Administrative Law Judge may, upon a showing of good cause, grant a motion to extend any deadline or time specified in this scheduling order other than the date of the evidentiary hearing. Such motion shall set forth the total period of extensions, if any, previously obtained by the moving party. In determining whether to grant the motion, the Administrative Law Judge shall consider any extensions already granted, the length of the proceedings to date, the complexity of the issues, and the need to conclude the evidentiary hearing and render an initial decision in a timely manner. The Administrative Law Judge shall not rule on ex parte motions to extend the deadlines specified in the scheduling order, or modify such deadlines solely upon stipulation or agreement of counsel.

(d) Meeting prior to final prehearing conference. Counsel for the parties shall meet before the final prehearing conference described in paragraph (e) of this section to discuss the matters set forth therein in preparation for the conference.

(e) Final prehearing conference. As close to the commencement of the evidentiary hearing as practicable, the Administrative Law Judge shall hold a final prehearing conference, which counsel shall attend in person, to submit any proposed stipulations as to law, fact, or admissibility of evidence, exchange exhibit and witness lists, and designate testimony to be presented by deposition. At this conference, the Administrative Law Judge shall also resolve any outstanding evidentiary matters or pending motions (except motions for summary decision) and establish a final schedule for the evidentiary hearing.

(f) Additional prehearing conferences and orders. The Administrative Law Judge shall hold additional prehearing and status conferences or enter additional orders as may be needed to ensure the just and expeditious disposition of the proceeding and to avoid unnecessary cost. Such conferences shall be held in person to the extent practicable.

(g) Public access and reporting. Prehearing conferences shall be public unless the Administrative Law Judge determines in his or her discretion that the conference (or any part thereof) shall be closed to the public. The Administrative Law Judge shall have discretion to determine whether a prehearing conference shall be stenographically reported.

[74 FR 1820, Jan. 13, 2009]

§3.22   Motions.

(a) Presentation and disposition. Motions filed under §3.26 or §4.17 shall be directly referred to and ruled on by the Commission. Motions to dismiss filed before the evidentiary hearing, motions to strike, and motions for summary decision shall be directly referred to the Commission and shall be ruled on by the Commission unless the Commission in its discretion refers the motion to the Administrative Law Judge. Motions not referred to the Administrative Law Judge shall be ruled on by the Commission within 45 days of the filing of the last-filed answer or reply to the motion, if any, unless the Commission determines there is good cause to extend the deadline. If the Commission refers the motion to the Administrative Law Judge, it may set a deadline for the ruling by the Administrative Law Judge, and a party may seek review of the ruling of the Administrative Law Judge in accordance with §3.23. During the time a proceeding is before an Administrative Law Judge, all other motions shall be addressed to and decided by the Administrative Law Judge, if within his or her authority. The Administrative Law Judge shall certify to the Commission a motion to disqualify filed under §3.42(g) if the Administrative Law Judge does not disqualify himself or herself within 10 days. The Administrative Law Judge shall certify to the Commission forthwith any other motion upon which he or she has no authority to rule. Rulings containing information granted in camera status pursuant to §3.45 shall be filed in accordance with §3.45(f). When a motion to dismiss is made at the close of the evidence offered in support of the complaint based upon an alleged failure to establish a prima facie case, the Administrative Law Judge shall defer ruling thereon until immediately after all evidence has been received and the hearing record is closed. All written motions shall be filed with the Secretary of the Commission, and all motions addressed to the Commission shall be in writing. The moving party shall also provide a copy of its motion to the Administrative Law Judge at the time the motion is filed with the Secretary.

(b) Proceedings not stayed. A motion under consideration by the Commission shall not stay proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge unless the Commission so orders.

(c) Content. All written motions shall state the particular order, ruling, or action desired and the grounds therefor. Memoranda in support of, or in opposition to, any dispositive motion shall not exceed 10,000 words. Memoranda in support of, or in opposition to, any other motion shall not exceed 2,500 words. Any reply in support of a dispositive motion shall not exceed 5,000 words and any reply in support of any other motion authorized by the Administrative Law Judge or the Commission shall not exceed 1,250 words. These word count limitations include headings, footnotes, and quotations, but do not include the cover, table of contents, table of citations or authorities, glossaries, statements with respect to oral argument, any addendums containing statutes, rules or regulations, any certificates of counsel, proposed form of order, and any attachment required by §3.45(e). Documents that fail to comply with these provisions shall not be filed with the Secretary. Motions must also include the name, address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address (if any) of counsel and attach a draft order containing the proposed relief. If a party includes in a motion information that has been granted in camera status pursuant to §3.45(b) or is subject to confidentiality protections pursuant to a protective order, the party shall file 2 versions of the motion in accordance with the procedures set forth in §3.45(e). The party shall mark its confidential filings with brackets or similar conspicuous markings to indicate the material for which it is claiming confidential treatment. The time period specified by §3.22(d) within which an opposing party may file an answer will begin to run upon service on that opposing party of the confidential version of the motion.

(d) Responses. Within 10 days after service of any written motion, or within such longer or shorter time as may be designated by the Administrative Law Judge or the Commission, the opposing party shall answer or shall be deemed to have consented to the granting of the relief asked for in the motion. If an opposing party includes in an answer information that has been granted in camera status pursuant to §3.45(b) or is subject to confidentiality protections pursuant to a protective order, the opposing party shall file 2 versions of the answer in accordance with the procedures set forth in §3.45(e). The moving party shall have no right to reply, except for dispositive motions or as otherwise permitted by the Administrative Law Judge or the Commission. Reply and surreply briefs to motions other than dispositive motions shall be permitted only in circumstances where the parties wish to draw the Administrative Law Judge's or the Commission's attention to recent important developments or controlling authority that could not have been raised earlier in the party's principal brief. The reply may be conditionally filed with the motion seeking leave to reply. Any reply with respect to a dispositive motion, or any permitted reply to any other motion, shall be filed within 5 days after service of the last answer to that motion.

(e) Rulings on motions. Unless otherwise provided by a relevant rule, the Administrative Law Judge shall rule on motions within 14 days after the filing of all motion papers authorized by this section. The Commission, for good cause, may extend the time allowed for a ruling.

(f) Motions for extensions. The Administrative Law Judge or the Commission may waive the requirements of this section as to motions for extensions of time; however, the Administrative Law Judge shall have no authority to rule on ex parte motions for extensions of time.

(g) Statement. Each motion to quash filed pursuant to §3.34(c), each motion to compel or determine sufficiency pursuant to §3.38(a), each motion for sanctions pursuant to §3.38(b), and each motion for enforcement pursuant to §3.38(c) shall be accompanied by a signed statement representing that counsel for the moving party has conferred with opposing counsel in an effort in good faith to resolve by agreement the issues raised by the motion and has been unable to reach such an agreement. If some of the matters in controversy have been resolved by agreement, the statement shall specify the matters so resolved and the matters remaining unresolved. The statement shall recite the date, time, and place of each such conference between counsel, and the names of all parties participating in each such conference. Unless otherwise ordered by the Administrative Law Judge, the statement required by this rule must be filed only with the first motion concerning compliance with the discovery demand at issue.

[74 FR 1821, Jan. 13, 2009]

§3.23   Interlocutory appeals.

(a) Appeals without a determination by the Administrative Law Judge. (1) The Commission may, in its discretion, entertain interlocutory appeals where a ruling of the Administrative Law Judge:

(i) Requires the disclosure of records of the Commission or another governmental agency or the appearance of an official or employee of the Commission or another governmental agency pursuant to §3.36, if such appeal is based solely on a claim of privilege: Provided, that the Administrative Law Judge shall stay until further order of the Commission the effectiveness of any ruling, whether or not appeal is sought, that requires the disclosure of nonpublic Commission minutes, Commissioner circulations, or similar documents prepared by the Commission, an individual Commissioner, or the Office of the General Counsel;

(ii) Suspends an attorney from participation in a particular proceeding pursuant to §3.42(d); or

(iii) Grants or denies an application for intervention pursuant to the provisions of §3.14.

(2) Appeal from such rulings may be sought by filing with the Commission an application for review within 3 days after notice of the Administrative Law Judge's ruling. An answer may be filed within 3 days after the application for review is filed. The Commission upon its own motion may enter an order staying compliance with a discovery demand authorized by the Administrative Law Judge pursuant to §3.36 or placing the matter on the Commission's docket for review. Any order placing the matter on the Commission's docket for review will set forth the scope of the review and the issues which will be considered and will make provision for the filing of memoranda of law if deemed appropriate by the Commission.

(b) Other interlocutory appeals. A party may request the Administrative Law Judge to determine that a ruling involves a controlling question of law or policy as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the ruling may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation or subsequent review will be an inadequate remedy. An answer may be filed within 3 days after the application for review is filed. The Administrative Law Judge shall issue a ruling on the request for determination within 3 days of the deadline for filing an answer. The party may file an application for review with the Commission within 1 day after notice that the Administrative Law Judge has issued the requested determination or 1 day after the deadline has passed for the Administrative Law Judge to issue a ruling on the request for determination and the Administrative Law Judge has not issued his or her ruling.

(c) The application for review shall attach the ruling from which appeal is being taken and any other portions of the record on which the moving party relies. Neither the application for review nor the answer shall exceed 2,500 words. This word count limitation includes headings, footnotes, and quotations, but does not include the cover, table of contents, table of citations or authorities, glossaries, statements with respect to oral argument, any addendums containing statutes, rules or regulations, any certificates of counsel, proposed form of order, and any attachment required by §3.45(e). The Commission may order additional briefing on the application.

(d) Ruling on application for review. Within 3 days after the deadline for filing an answer, the Commission will determine whether to grant the application for review. The denial of an application shall not constitute a ruling on the merits of the ruling that is the subject of the application.

(e) Proceedings not stayed. An application for review and appeal hereunder shall not stay proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge unless the Judge or the Commission shall so order.

[74 FR 1822, Jan. 13, 2009]

§3.24   Summary decisions.

(a) Procedure. (1) Any party may move, with or without supporting affidavits, for a summary decision in the party's favor upon all or any part of the issues being adjudicated. The motion shall be accompanied by a separate and concise statement of the material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue for trial. Counsel in support of the complaint may so move at any time after 20 days following issuance of the complaint and any respondent may so move at any time after issuance of the complaint. Any such motion by any party, however, shall be filed in accordance with the scheduling order issued pursuant to §3.21, but in any case at least 30 days before the date fixed for the hearing.

(2) Any other party may, within 14 days after service of the motion, file opposing affidavits. The opposing party shall include a separate and concise statement of those material facts as to which the opposing party contends there exists a genuine issue for trial, as provided in §3.24(a)(3). The parties may file memoranda of law in support of, or in opposition to, the motion consistent with §3.22(c). If a party includes in any such brief or memorandum information that has been granted in camera status pursuant to §3.45(b) or is subject to confidentiality protections pursuant to a protective order, the party shall file 2 versions of the document in accordance with the procedures set forth in §3.45(e). If the Commission (or, when appropriate, the Administrative Law Judge) determines that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact regarding liability or relief, it shall issue a final decision and order. In the event that the motion has been referred to the Administrative Law Judge, such determination by the Administrative Law Judge shall constitute his or her initial decision and shall conform to the procedures set forth in §3.51(c). A summary decision, interlocutory in character and in compliance with the procedures set forth in §3.51(c), may be rendered on the issue of liability alone although there is a genuine issue as to relief.

(3) Affidavits shall set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated therein. The Commission (or, when appropriate, the Administrative Law Judge) may permit affidavits to be supplemented or opposed by depositions, answers to interrogatories, or further affidavits. When a motion for summary decision is made and supported as provided in this rule, a party opposing the motion may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his or her pleading; the response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule, must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. If no such response is filed, summary decision, if appropriate, shall be rendered.

(4) Should it appear from the affidavits of a party opposing the motion that it cannot, for reasons stated, present by affidavit facts essential to justify its opposition, the Commission (or, when appropriate, the Administrative Law Judge) may deny the motion for summary decision or may order a continuance to permit affidavits to be obtained or depositions to be taken or discovery to be had or make such other order as is appropriate and a determination to that effect shall be made a matter of record.

(5) If on motion under this rule a summary decision is not rendered upon the whole case or for all the relief asked and a trial is necessary, the Commission (or, when appropriate, the Administrative Law Judge) shall issue an order specifying the facts that appear without substantial controversy and directing further proceedings in the action. The facts so specified shall be deemed established.

(b) Affidavits filed in bad faith. (1) Should it appear to the satisfaction of the Commission (or, when appropriate, the Administrative Law Judge) at any time that any of the affidavits presented pursuant to this rule are presented in bad faith, or solely for the purpose of delay, or are patently frivolous, the Commission (or, when appropriate, the Administrative Law Judge) shall enter a determination to that effect upon the record.

(2) If upon consideration of all relevant facts attending the submission of any affidavit covered by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the Commission (or, when appropriate, the Administrative Law Judge) concludes that action to suspend or remove an attorney from the case is warranted, it shall take action as specified in §3.42(d). If the Administrative Law Judge to whom the Commission has referred a motion for summary decision concludes, upon consideration of all the relevant facts attending the submission of any affidavit covered by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, that the matter should be certified to the Commission for consideration of disciplinary action against an attorney, including reprimand, suspension or disbarment, the Administrative Law Judge shall certify the matter, with his or her findings and recommendations, to the Commission for its consideration of disciplinary action in the manner provided by the Commission's rules. If the Commission has addressed the motion directly, it may consider such disciplinary action without a certification by the Administrative Law Judge.

[74 FR 1822, Jan. 13, 2009]

§3.25   Consent agreement settlements.

(a) The Administrative Law Judge may, in his or her discretion and without suspension of prehearing procedures, hold conferences for the purpose of supervising negotiations for the settlement of the case, in whole or in part, by way of consent agreement.

(b) A proposal to settle a matter in adjudication by consent shall be submitted by way of a motion to withdraw the matter from adjudication for the purpose of considering a proposed settlement. Such motion shall be filed with the Secretary of the Commission, as provided in §4.2. Any such motion shall be accompanied by a consent proposal; the proposal itself, however, shall not be placed on the public record unless and until it is accepted by the Commission as provided herein. If the consent proposal affects only some of the respondents or resolves only some of the charges in adjudication, the motion required by this paragraph shall so state and shall specify the portions of the matter that the proposal would resolve.

(c) If a consent agreement accompanying the motion has been executed by one or more respondents and by complaint counsel, has been approved by the appropriate Bureau Director, and conforms to §2.32, and the matter is pending before an Administrative Law Judge, the Secretary shall issue an order withdrawing from adjudication those portions of the matter that the proposal would resolve and all proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge shall be stayed with respect to such portions, pending a determination by the Commission pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section. If a consent proposal is not in the form of a consent agreement executed by a respondent, does not otherwise conform to §2.32, or has not been executed by complaint counsel, and the matter is pending before the Administrative Law Judge, he or she shall certify the motion and proposal to the Commission upon a written determination that there is a reasonable possibility of settlement. The certification may be accompanied by a recommendation to the Commission as to the disposition of the motion. The Administrative Law Judge shall make a determination as to whether to certify the motion within 5 days after the filing of the motion. The filing of a motion under paragraph (b) of this section and certification thereof to the Commission shall not stay proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge unless the Commission shall so order. Upon certification of such motion, the Commission in its discretion may issue an order withdrawing from adjudication those portions of the matter that the proposal would resolve for the purpose of considering the consent proposal.

(d) If the matter is no longer pending before the Administrative Law Judge, the Commission in its discretion may, upon motion filed under paragraph (b) of this section, issue an order withdrawing from adjudication those portions of the matter that the proposal would resolve for the purpose of considering the consent proposal. Such order may issue whether or not the consent proposal is in the form of a consent agreement executed by a respondent, otherwise conforms to §2.32, or has been executed by complaint counsel.

(e) The Commission will treat those portions of a matter withdrawn from adjudication pursuant to paragraphs (c) or (d) of this section as being in a nonadjudicative status. Portions not so withdrawn shall remain in an adjudicative status.

(f) After some or all of the allegations in a matter have been withdrawn from adjudication, the Commission may accept a proposed consent agreement, reject it and return the matter or affected portions thereof to adjudication for further proceedings, or take such other action as it may deem appropriate. If an agreement is accepted, it will be disposed of as provided in §2.34 of this chapter, except that if, following the public comment period provided for in §2.34, the Commission decides, based on comments received or otherwise, to withdraw its acceptance of the agreement, it will so notify the parties and will return to adjudication any portions of the matter previously withdrawn from adjudication for further proceedings or take such other action it considers appropriate.

(g) This rule will not preclude the settlement of the case by regular adjudicatory process through the filing of an admission answer or submission of the case to the Administrative Law Judge on a stipulation of facts and an agreed order.

[74 FR 20208, May 1, 2009]

§3.26   Motions following denial of preliminary injunctive relief.

(a) This section sets forth two procedures by which respondents may obtain consideration of whether continuation of an adjudicative proceeding is in the public interest after a court has denied preliminary injunctive relief in a separate proceeding brought under section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 53(b), in aid of the adjudication.

(b) A motion under this section shall be addressed to the Commission and filed with the Secretary of the Commission. If the Commission has filed a request for a stay, injunction, or other emergency relief pending appeal to a court of appeals, the motion must be filed within 14 days after, but no earlier than, the court of appeals has denied the Commission's request. In cases in which the Commission has not sought relief from the court of appeals within 7 days following the denial of a preliminary injunction, the motion must be filed within 14 days after the district court has denied preliminary relief.

(c) Withdrawal from adjudication. If a court has denied preliminary injunctive relief to the Commission in a section 13(b) proceeding brought in aid of an adjudicative proceeding, respondents may move that the proceeding be withdrawn from adjudication in order to consider whether or not the public interest warrants further litigation. Such a motion shall be filed jointly or separately by each of the respondents in the adjudicative proceeding. Complaint counsel may file a response within 14 days after such motion is filed. The matter will not be withdrawn from adjudication unless the Commission so directs.

(d) Consideration on the record. Instead of a motion to withdraw the matter from adjudication, any respondent or respondents may file a motion under this paragraph to dismiss the administrative complaint on the basis that the public interest does not warrant further litigation after a court has denied preliminary injunctive relief to the Commission. Complaint counsel may file a response within 14 days after such motion is filed. The filing of a motion to dismiss shall not stay the proceeding unless the Commission so directs.

(e) Form. Memoranda in support of or in opposition to such motions shall not exceed 10,000 words. This word count limitation includes headings, footnotes, and quotations, but does not include the cover, table of contents, table of citations or authorities, glossaries, statements with respect to oral argument, any addendums containing statutes, rules or regulations, any certificates of counsel, proposed form of order, and any attachment required by §3.45(e).

(f) In camera materials. If any filing includes materials that are subject to confidentiality protections pursuant to an order entered in either the proceeding under section 13(b) or in the proceeding under this part, such materials shall be treated as in camera materials for purposes of this paragraph and the party shall file 2 versions of the document in accordance with the procedures set forth in §3.45(e). The time within which complaint counsel may file an answer under this paragraph will begin to run upon service of the in camera version of the motion (including any supporting briefs and memoranda).

(g) Ruling by Commission. The Commission shall rule on any motion authorized by this section within 30 days after the filing of the motion and any memoranda in support of or in opposition to the motion.

[74 FR 1823, Jan. 13, 2009]



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