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e-CFR data is current as of October 20, 2020

Title 47Chapter ISubchapter APart 1 → Subpart K


Title 47: Telecommunication
PART 1—PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE


Subpart K—Implementation of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) in Agency Proceedings


Contents

General Provisions

§1.1501   Purpose of these rules.
§1.1502   When the EAJA applies.
§1.1503   Proceedings covered.
§1.1504   Eligibility of applicants.
§1.1505   Standards for awards.
§1.1506   Allowable fees and expenses.
§1.1507   Rulemaking on maximum rates for attorney fees.
§1.1508   Awards against other agencies.

Information Required From Applicants

§1.1511   Contents of application.
§1.1512   Net worth exhibit.
§1.1513   Documentation of fees and expenses.
§1.1514   When an application may be filed.

Procedures for Considering Applications

§1.1521   Filing and service of documents.
§1.1522   Answer to application.
§1.1523   Reply.
§1.1524   Comments by other parties.
§1.1525   Settlement.
§1.1526   Further proceedings.
§1.1527   Decision.
§1.1528   Commission review.
§1.1529   Judicial review.
§1.1530   Payment of award.

Authority: Sec. 203(a)(1), Pub. L. 96-481, 94 Stat. 2325 (5 U.S.C. 504(c)(1)).

Source: 47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, unless otherwise noted.

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General Provisions

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§1.1501   Purpose of these rules.

The Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. 504 (called the EAJA in this subpart), provides for the award of attorney's fees and other expenses to eligible individuals and entities who are parties to certain administrative proceedings (called adversary adjudications) before the Commission. An eligible party may receive an award when it prevails over the Commission, unless the Commission's position in the proceeding was substantially justified or special circumstances make an award unjust, or when the demand of the Commission is substantially in excess of the decision in the adversary adjudication and is unreasonable when compared with such decision, under the facts and circumstances of the case, unless the party has committed a willful violation of law or otherwise acted in bad faith, or special circumstances make an award unjust. The rules in this part describe the parties eligible for awards and the proceedings that are covered. They also explain how to apply for awards, and the procedures and standards that the Commission will use to make them.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 39898, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1502   When the EAJA applies.

The EAJA applies to any adversary adjudication pending or commenced before the Commission on or after August 5, 1985. The provisions of §1.1505(b) apply to any adversary adjudications commenced on or after March 29, 1996.

[61 FR 39898, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1503   Proceedings covered.

(a) The EAJA applies to adversary adjudications conducted by the Commission. These are adjudications under 5 U.S.C. 554 in which the position of the Commission or any other agency of the United States, or any component of an agency, is presented by an attorney or other representative who enters an appearance and participates in the proceeding. Any proceeding in which this Agency may fix a lawful present or future rate is not covered by the EAJA. Proceedings to grant or renew licenses are also excluded, but proceedings to modify, suspend, or revoke licenses are covered if they are otherwise “adversary adjudications”.

(b) The Commission may designate a proceeding as an adversary adjudication for purposes of the EAJA by so stating in an order initiating the proceeding or designating the matter for hearing. The Commission's failure to designate a proceeding as an adversary adjudication shall not preclude the filing of an application by a party who believes the proceeding is covered by the EAJA; whether the proceeding is covered will then be an issue for resolution in proceedings on the application.

(c) If a proceeding includes both matters covered by the EAJA and matters specifically excluded from coverage, any awards made will include only fees and expenses related to covered issues.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 52 FR 11653, Apr. 10, 1987]

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§1.1504   Eligibility of applicants.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63183, Oct. 6, 2020.

(a) To be eligible for an award of attorney fees and other expenses under the EAJA, the applicant must be a party, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 551(3), to the adversary adjudication for which it seeks an award. The applicant must show that it meets all conditions of eligibility set out in this paragraph and in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) The types of eligible applicants are as follows:

(1) An individual with a net worth of not more than $2 million;

(2) The sole owner of an unincorporated business who has a net worth of not more than $7 million, including both personal and business interests, and not more than 500 employees;

(3) A charitable association as defined in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) with not more than 500 employees;

(4) A cooperative association as defined in section 15(a) of the Agricultural Marketing Act (12 U.S.C. 1141j(a)) with not more than 500 employees;

(5) Any other partnership, corporation, association, unit of local government, or organization with a net worth of not more than $7 million and not more than 500 employees;

(6) For purposes of §1.1505(b), a small entity as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601.

(c) For the purpose of eligibility, the net worth and number of employees of an applicant shall be determined as of the date the proceeding was initiated.

(d) An applicant who owns an unincorporated business will be considered as an “individual” rather than a “sole owner of an unincorporated business” if the issues on which the applicant prevails are related primarily to personal interests rather than to business interests.

(e) The number of employees of an applicant include all persons who regularly perform services for remuneration for the applicant, under the applicant's direction and control. Part-time employees shall be included on a proportional basis.

(f) The net worth and number of employees of the applicant and all of its affiliates shall be aggregated to determine eligibility. Any individual, corporation or other entity that directly or indirectly controls or owns a majority of the voting shares or other interest of the applicant, or any corporation or other entity of which the applicant directly or indirectly owns or controls a majority of the voting shares or other interest, will be considered an affiliate for purposes of this part, unless the Administrative Law Judge determines that such treatment would be unjust and contrary to the purposes of the EAJA in light of the actual relationship between the affiliated entities. In addition, the Administrative Law Judge may determine that financial relationships of the applicant other than those described in this paragraph constitute special circumstances that would make an award unjust.

(g) An applicant that participates in a proceeding primarily on behalf of one or more other persons or entities that would be ineligible is not itself eligible for an award.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 52 FR 11653, Apr. 10, 1987; 61 FR 39898, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1505   Standards for awards.

(a) A prevailing party may receive an award for fees and expenses incurred in connection either with an adversary adjudication, or with a significant and discrete substantive portion of an adversary adjudication in which the party has prevailed over the position of the Commission.

(1) The position of the Commission includes, in addition to the position taken by the Commission in the adversary adjudication, the action or failure to act by the agency upon which the adversary adjudication is based.

(2) An award will be reduced or denied if the Commission's position was substantially justified in law and fact, if special circumstances make an award unjust, or if the prevailing party unduly or unreasonably protracted the adversary adjudication.

(b) If, in an adversary adjudication arising from a Commission action to enforce a party's compliance with a statutory or regulatory requirement, the demand of the Commission is substantially in excess of the decision in the adversary adjudication and is unreasonable when compared with that decision, under the facts and circumstances of the case, the party shall be awarded the fees and other expenses related to defending against the excessive demand, unless the party has committed a willful violation of law or otherwise acted in bad faith, or special circumstances make an award unjust. The “demand” of the Commission means the express demand which led to the adversary adjudication, but it does not include a recitation by the Commission of the maximum statutory penalty in the administrative complaint, or elsewhere when accompanied by an express demand for a lesser amount.

(c) The burden of proof that an award should not be made is on the appropriate Bureau (see §1.21) whose representative shall be called “Bureau counsel” in this subpart K.

[61 FR 39899, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1506   Allowable fees and expenses.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63183, Oct. 6, 2020.

(a) Awards will be based on rates customarily charged by persons engaged in the business of acting as attorneys, agents and expert witnesses.

(b) No award for the fee of an attorney or agent under these rules may exceed $75.00, or for adversary adjudications commenced on or after March 29, 1996, $125.00, per hour. No award to compensate an expert witness may exceed the highest rate at which the Commission pays expert witnesses. However, an award may also include the reasonable expenses of the attorney; agent, or witness as a separate item, if the attorney, agent or witness ordinarily charges its clients separately for such expenses.

(c) In determining the reasonableness of the fee sought for an attorney, agent or expert witness, the Administrative Law Judge shall consider the following:

(1) If the attorney, agent or witness is in private practice, his or her customary fee for similar services, or, if an employee of the applicant, the fully allocated cost of the services;

(2) The prevailing rate for similar services in the community in which the attorney, agent or witness ordinarily performs services;

(3) The time actually spent in the representation of the applicant;

(4) The time reasonably spent in light of the difficulty or complexity of the issues in the proceeding; and

(5) Such other factors as may bear on the value of the service provided.

(d) The reasonable cost of any study, analysis, engineering report, test, project or similar matter prepared on behalf of a party may be awarded, to the extent that the charge for the service does not exceed the prevailing rate for similar services, and the study or other matter was necessary for preparation of the applicant's case.

(e) Fees may be awarded only for work performed after designation of a proceeding or after issuance of a show cause order.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 39899, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1507   Rulemaking on maximum rates for attorney fees.

(a) If warranted by an increase in the cost of living or by special circumstances (such as limited availability of attorneys qualified to handle certain types of proceedings), the Commission may adopt regulations providing that attorney fees may be awarded at a rate higher than $125.00 per hour in some or all of the types of proceedings covered by this part. The Commission will conduct any rulemaking proceedings for this purpose under the informal rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act.

(b) Any person may file with the Commission a petition for rulemaking to increase the maximum rate for attorney fees, in accordance with subpart C of this chapter. The petition should identify the rate the petitioner believes this agency should establish and the types of proceedings in which the rate should be used. It should also explain fully the reasons why the higher rate is warranted. This agency will respond to the petition by initiating a rulemaking proceeding, denying the petition, or taking other appropriate action.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 39899, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1508   Awards against other agencies.

If an applicant is entitled to an award because it prevails over another agency of the United States that participates in a proceeding before the Commission and takes a position that is not substantially justified, the award or an appropriate portion of the award shall be made against that agency. Counsel for that agency shall be treated as Bureau counsel for the purpose of this subpart.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 39899, July 31, 1996]

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Information Required From Applicants

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§1.1511   Contents of application.

(a) An application for an award of fees and expenses under EAJA shall dentify the applicant and the proceeding for which an award is sought. Unless the applicant is an individual, the application shall state the number of employees of the applicant and describe briefly the type and purpose of its organization or business. The application shall also:

(1) Show that the applicant has prevailed and identify the position of an agency or agencies in the proceeding that the applicant alleges was not substantially justified; or

(2) Show that the demand by the agency or agencies in the proceeding was substantially in excess of, and was unreasonable when compared with, the decision in the proceeding.

(b) The application shall also include a declaration that the applicant is a small entity as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601 or a statement that the applicant's net worth does not exceed $2 million (if an individual) or $7 million (for all other applicants, including their affiliates). However, an applicant may omit the statement concerning its net worth if:

(1) It attaches a copy of a ruling by the Internal Revenue Service that it qualifies as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) or, in the case of a tax-exempt organization not required to obtain a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service on its exempt status, a statement that describes the basis for the applicant's belief that it qualifies under such section; or

(2) It states that it is a cooperative association as defined in section 15(a) of the Agricultural Marketing Act (12 U.S.C. 1141j(a)).

(c) The application shall state the amount of fees and expenses for which an award is sought.

(d) The application may also include any other matters that the applicant wishes the Commission to consider in determining whether and in what amount an award should be made.

(e) The application shall be signed by the applicant or an authorized officer or attorney of the applicant. It shall also contain or be accompanied by a written verification under oath or under penalty of perjury that the information provided in the application is true and correct.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 52 FR 11653, Apr. 10, 1987; 61 FR 39899, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1512   Net worth exhibit.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63184, Oct. 6, 2020.

(a) Each applicant except a qualified tax-exempt organization or cooperative association must provide with its application a detailed exhibit showing the net worth of the applicant and any affiliates (as defined in §1.1504(f) of this part) at the time the proceeding was designated. The exhibit may be in any form convenient to the applicant that provides full disclosure of the applicant's and its affiliates' assets and liabilities and is sufficient to determine whether the applicant qualifies under the standards in this subpart. The Administrative Law Judge may require an applicant to file additional information to determine its eligibility for an award.

(b) Ordinarily, the net worth exhibit will be included in the public record of the proceeding. However, an applicant that objects to public disclosure of information in any portion of the exhibit and believes there are legal grounds for withholding it from disclosure may submit that portion of the exhibit directly to the Administrative Law Judge in a sealed enevelope labeled “Confidential Financial Information”, accompanied by a motion to withhold the information from public disclosure. The motion shall describe the information sought to be withheld and explain, in detail, why it falls within one or more of the specific exemptions from mandatory disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1)-(9), why public disclosue of the information would adversely affect the applicant, and why disclosure is not required in the public interest. The material in question shall be served on Bureau counsel, but need not be served on any other party to the proceeding. If the Administrative Law Judge finds that the information should not be withheld from disclosure, it shall be placed in the public record of the proceeding. Otherwise, any request to inspect or copy the exhibit shall be disposed of in accordance with the Commission's established procedures under the Freedom of Information Act, §§0.441 through 0.466 of this chapter.

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§1.1513   Documentation of fees and expenses.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63184, Oct. 6, 2020.

The application shall be accompanied by full documentation of the fees and expenses, including the cost of any study, analysis, engineering report, test, project or similar matter, for which an award is sought. A separate itemized statement shall be submitted for each professional firm or individual whose services are covered by the application, showing hours spent in connection with the proceeding by each individual, a description of the specific services performed, the rate at which each fee has been computed, any expenses for which reimbursement is sought, the total amount claimed, and the total amount paid or payable by the applicant or by any other person or entity for the services provided. The Administrative Law Judge may require the applicant to provide vouchers, receipts, or other substantiation for any expenses claimed.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 39899, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1514   When an application may be filed.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63184, Oct. 6, 2020.

(a) An application may be filed whenever the applicant has prevailed in the proceeding or in a significant and discrete substantive portion of the proceeding, or when the demand of the Commission is substantially in excess of the decision in the proceeding, but in no case later than 30 days after the Commission's final disposition of the proceeding.

(b) If review or reconsideration is sought or taken of a decision as to which an applicant believes it has prevailed, proceedings for the award of fees shall be stayed pending final disposition of the underlying controversy.

(c) For purposes of this rule, final disposition means the later of

(1) The date on which an initial decision or other recommended disposition of the merits of the proceeding by an Administrative Law Judge becomes administratively final;

(2) Issuance of an order disposing of any petitions for reconsideration of the Commission's order in the proceeding;

(3) If no petition for reconsideration is filed, the last date on which such petition could have been filed;

(4) Issuance of a final order by the Commission or any other final resolution of a proceeding, such as settlement or voluntary dismissal, which is not subject to a petition for reconsideration, or to a petition for judicial review; or

(5) Completion of judicial action on the underlying controversy and any subsequent Commission action pursuant to judicial mandate.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 39899, July 31, 1996]

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Procedures for Considering Applications

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§1.1521   Filing and service of documents.

Any application for an award or other pleading relating to an application shall be filed and served on all parties to the proceeding in the same manner as other pleadings in the proceeding, except as provided in §1.1512(b) for confidential financial information.

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§1.1522   Answer to application.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63184, Oct. 6, 2020.

(a) Within 30 days after service of an application Bureau counsel may file an answer to the application. Unless Bureau counsel requests an extension of time for filing or files a statement of intent to negotiate under paragraph (b) of this section, failure to file an answer within the 30-day period may be treated as a consent to the award request.

(b) If Bureau counsel and the applicant believe that the issues in the fee application can be settled, they may jointly file a statement of their intent to negotiate a settlement. The filing of this statement shall extend the time for filing an answer for an additional 30 days, and further extensions may be granted by the Administrative Law Judge upon request by Bureau counsel and the applicant.

(c) The answer shall explain in detail any objections to the award requested and identify the facts relied on in support of Bureau counsel's position. If the answer is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, Bureau counsel shall include with the answer either supporting affidavits or a request for further proceedings under §1.1526.

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§1.1523   Reply.

Within 15 days after service of an answer, the applicant may file a reply. If the reply is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, the applicant shall include with the reply either supporting affidavits or a request for further proceedings under §1.1526.

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§1.1524   Comments by other parties.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63184, Oct. 6, 2020.

Any party to a proceeding other than the applicant and Bureau counsel may file comments on an application within 30 days after it is served or an answer within 15 days after it is served. A commenting party may not participate further in proceedings on the application unless the Administrative Law Judge determines that the public interest requires such participation in order to permit full exploration of matters raised in the comments.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 39899, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1525   Settlement.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63184, Oct. 6, 2020.

The applicant and Bureau counsel may agree on a proposed settlement of the award before final action on the application, either in connection with a settlement of the underlying proceeding, or after the underlying proceeding has been concluded. If a prevailing party and Bureau counsel agree on a proposed settlement of an award before an application has been filed, the application shall be filed with the proposed settlement. If the Administrative Law Judge approves the proposed settlement, it shall be forwarded to the Commission for final approval.

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§1.1526   Further proceedings.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63184, Oct. 6, 2020.

(a) Ordinarily, the determination of an award will be made on the basis of the written record. However, on request of either the applicant or Bureau counsel, or on his or her own initiative, the Administrative Law Judge may order further proceedings, such as an informal conference, oral argument, additional written submissions or, as to issues other than excessive demand or substantial justification, an evidentiary hearing. Such further proceedings shall be held only when necessary for full and fair resolution of the issues arising from the application, and shall be conducted as promptly as possible. Whether or not the position of the agency embodied an excessive demand or was substantially justified shall be determined on the basis of the administrative record, as a whole, which is made in the adversary adjudication for which fees and other expenses are sought.

(b) A request that the Administrative Law Judge order further proceedings under this section shall specifically identify the information sought or the disputed issues and shall explain why the additional proceedings are necessary to resolve the issues.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 52 FR 11653, Apr. 10, 1987; 61 FR 39899, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1527   Decision.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63184, Oct. 6, 2020.

The Administrative Law Judge shall issue an initial decision on the application as soon as possible after completion of proceedings on the application. The decision shall include written findings and conclusions regarding the applicant's eligibility and whether the applicant was a prevailing party or whether the demand by the agency or agencies in the proceeding was substantially in excess of, and was unreasonable when compared with, the decision in the adversary adjudication, and an explanation of the reasons for any difference between the amount requested and the amount awarded. The decision shall also include, if at issue, findings on whether the Commission's position substantially justified, whether the applicant unduly protracted the proceedings, committed a willful violation of law, or otherwise acted in bad faith, or whether special circumstances make an award unjust. If the applicant has sought an award against more than one agency, the decision shall allocate responsibility for payment of any award made among the agencies, and shall explain the reasons for the allocation made.

[61 FR 39900, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1528   Commission review.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 63184, Oct. 6, 2020.

Either the applicant or Bureau counsel may seek Commission review of the initial decision on the application, or the Commission may decide to review the decision on its own initiative, in accordance with §§1.276 through 1.282 of this chapter. Except as provided in §1.1525, if neither the applicant nor Bureau counsel seeks review and the Commission does not take review on its own initiative, the initial decision on the application shall become a final decision of the Commission 50 days after it is issued. Whether to review a decision is a matter within the discretion of the Commission. If review is taken, the Commission will issue a final decision on the application or remand the application to the Administrative Law Judge for further proceedings.

[47 FR 3786, Jan. 27, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 39900, July 31, 1996]

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§1.1529   Judicial review.

Judicial review of final agency decisions on awards may be sought as provided in 5 U.S.C. 504(c)(2).

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§1.1530   Payment of award.

An applicant seeking payment of an award from the Commission shall submit to the General Counsel a copy of the Commission's final decision granting the award, accompanied by a statement that the applicant will not seek review of the decision in the United States courts, or a copy of the court's order directing payment. The Commission will pay the amount awarded to the applicant unless judicial review of the award or the underlying decision of the adversary adjudication has been sought by the applicant or any other party to the proceeding.

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