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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of November 19, 2019

Title 22Chapter ISubchapter R → Part 172


Title 22: Foreign Relations


PART 172—SERVICE OF PROCESS; PRODUCTION OR DISCLOSURE OF OFFICIAL INFORMATION IN RESPONSE TO COURT ORDERS, SUBPOENAS, NOTICES OF DEPOSITIONS, REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS, INTERROGATORIES, OR SIMILAR REQUESTS OR DEMANDS IN CONNECTION WITH FEDERAL OR STATE LITIGATION; EXPERT TESTIMONY


Contents
§172.1   Purpose and scope; definitions.
§172.2   Service of summonses and complaints.
§172.3   Service of subpoenas, court orders, and other demands or requests for official information or action.
§172.4   Testimony and production of documents prohibited unless approved by appropriate Department officials.
§172.5   Procedure when testimony or production of documents is sought; general.
§172.6   Procedure when response to demand is required prior to receiving instructions.
§172.7   Procedure in the event of an adverse ruling.
§172.8   Considerations in determining whether the Department will comply with a demand or request.
§172.9   Prohibition on providing expert or opinion testimony.

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 8 U.S.C. 1202(f); 22 U.S.C. 2651a, 2664, 3926.

Source: 57 FR 32896, July 24, 1992, unless otherwise noted.

§172.1   Purpose and scope; definitions.

(a) This part sets forth the procedures to be followed with respect to:

(1) Service of summonses and complaints or other requests or demands directed to the Department of State (Department) or to any Department employee or former employee in connection with federal or state litigation arising out of or involving the performance of official activities of the Department; and

(2) The oral or written disclosure, in response to subpoenas, orders, or other requests or demands of federal or state judicial or quasi-judicial authority (collectively, “demands”), whether civil or criminal in nature, or in response to requests for depositions, affidavits, admissions, responses to interrogatories, document production, or other litigation-related matters, pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, or applicable state rules (collectively, “requests”), of any material contained in the files of the Department, any information relating to material contained in the files of the Department, or any information acquired while the subject of the demand or request is or was an employee of the Department as part of the performance of that person's duties or by virtue of that person's official status.

(b) For purposes of this part, and except as the Department may otherwise determine in a particular case, the term employee includes the Secretary and former Secretaries of State, and all employees and former employees of the Department of State or other federal agencies who are or were appointed by, or subject to the supervision, jurisdiction, or control of the Secretary of State or his Chiefs of Mission, whether residing or working in the United States or abroad, including United States nationals, foreign nationals, and contractors.

(c) For purposes of this part, the term litigation encompasses all pre-trial, trial, and post-trial stages of all judicial or administrative actions, hearings, investigations, or similar proceedings before courts, commissions, boards (including the Board of Appellate Review), or other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies or tribunals, whether criminal, civil, or administrative in nature. This part governs, inter alia, responses to discovery requests, depositions, and other pre-trial, trial, or post-trial proceedings, as well as responses to informal requests by attorneys or others in situations involving litigation. However, this part shall not apply to any claims by Department of State employees (present or former), or applicants for Department employment, for which jurisdiction resides with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board; the Office of Special Counsel; the Federal Labor Relations Authority; the Foreign Service Labor Relations Board; the Foreign Service Grievance Board; or a labor arbitrator operating under a collective bargaining agreement between the Department and a labor organization representing Department employees; or their successor agencies or entities.

(d) For purposes of this part, official information means all information of any kind, however stored, that is in the custody and control of the Department, relates to information in the custody and control of the Department, or was acquired by Department employees as part of their official duties or because of their official status within the Department while such individuals were employed by or served on behalf of the Department.

(e) Nothing in this part affects disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, Executive Order 13526 (3 CFR, 2009 Comp., p. 298), the Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b, the Department's implementing regulations in 22 CFR part 171 or pursuant to congressional subpoena. Nothing in this part otherwise permits disclosure of information by the Department or its employees except as provided by statute or other applicable law.

(f) This part is intended only to inform the public about Department procedures concerning the service of process and responses to demands or requests and is not intended to and does not create, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the Department or the United States.

(g) Nothing in this part affects:

(1) The disclosure of information during the course of legal proceedings in non-United States courts, commissions, boards, or other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies or tribunals; or

(2) The rules and procedures, under applicable U.S. law and international conventions, governing diplomatic and consular immunity.

(h) Nothing in this part affects the disclosure of official information to other federal agencies or Department of Justice attorneys in connection with litigation conducted on behalf or in defense of the United States, its agencies, officers, and employees, or to federal, state, local, or foreign prosecuting and law enforcement authorities in conjunction with criminal law enforcement investigations, prosecutions, or other proceedings, e.g., extradition, deportation.

[57 FR 32896, July 24, 1992, as amended at 83 FR 17489, Apr. 20, 2018]

§172.2   Service of summonses and complaints.

(a) Only the Executive Office of the Office of the Legal Adviser (L/H-EX) is authorized to receive and accept summonses or complaints sought to be served upon the Department or Department employees. All such documents should be delivered or addressed to: The Executive Office, Office of the Legal Adviser, Suite 5.600, 600 19th Street NW., Washington DC 20522. (Note that the suite number is 5.600.)

(b) In the event any summons or complaint described in §172.1(a) is delivered to an employee of the Department other than in the manner specified in this part, such attempted service shall be ineffective, and the recipient thereof shall either decline to accept the proffered service or return such document under cover of a written communication which directs the person attempting to make service to the procedures set forth herein.

(c) Except as otherwise provided §§172.2(d) and 172.3(c), the Department is not an authorized agent for service of process with respect to civil litigation against Department employees purely in their personal, non-official capacity. Copies of summonses or complaints directed to Department employees in connection with legal proceedings arising out of the performance of official duties may, however, be served upon L/H-EX.

(d) Although the Department is not an agent for the service of process upon its employees with respect to purely personal, non-official litigation, the Department recognizes that its employees stationed overseas should not use their official positions to evade their personal obligations and will, therefore, counsel and encourage Department employees to accept service of process in appropriate cases, and will waive applicable diplomatic or consular privileges and immunities when the Department determines that it is in the interest of the United States to do so.

(e) Documents for which L/H-EX accepts service in official capacity only shall be stamped “Service Accepted in Official Capacity Only”. Acceptance of service shall not constitute an admission or waiver with respect to jurisdiction, propriety of service, improper venue, or any other defense in law or equity available under the laws of rules applicable for the service of process.

[57 FR 32896, July 24, 1992, as amended at 80 FR 12082, Mar. 6, 2015; 80 FR 30155, May 27, 2015; 83 FR 17489, Apr. 20, 2018]

§172.3   Service of subpoenas, court orders, and other demands or requests for official information or action.

(a) Except in cases in which the Department is represented by legal counsel who have entered an appearance or otherwise given notice of their representation, only L/EX is authorized to receive and accept subpoenas, or other demands or requests directed to the Department, or any component thereof, or its employees, or former employees, whether civil or criminal nature, for:

(1) Material, including documents, contained in the files of the Department;

(2) Information, including testimony, affidavits, declarations, admissions, responses to interrogatories, or informal statements, relating to material contained in the files of the Department or which any Department employee acquired in the course and scope of the performance of his official duties;

(3) Garnishment or attachment of compensation of current or former employees; or

(4) The performance or non-performance of any official Department duty.

(b) In the event that any subpoena, demand, or request is sought to be delivered to a Department employee (including former employees) other than in the manner prescribed in paragraph (a) of this section, such attempted service shall be ineffective. Such employee shall, after consultation with the Office of the Legal Adviser, decline to accept the subpoena, demand or request or shall return them to the server under cover of a written communication referring to the procedures prescribed in this part.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in this part, the Department is not an agent for service, or otherwise authorized to accept on behalf of its employees any subpoenas, show-cause orders, or similar compulsory process of federal or state courts, or requests from private individuals or attorneys, which are not related to the employees' official duties except upon the express, written authorization of the individual Department employee to whom such demand or request is directed.

(d) Acceptance of such documents by L/EX does not constitute a waiver of any defenses that might otherwise exist with respect to service under the Federal Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure or other applicable rules.

§172.4   Testimony and production of documents prohibited unless approved by appropriate Department officials.

(a) No employee of the Department shall, in response to a demand or request in connection with any litigation, whether criminal or civil, provide oral or written testimony by deposition, declaration, affidavit, or otherwise concerning any information acquired while such person is or was an employee of the Department as part of the performance of that person's official duties or by virtue of that persons's official status, unless authorized to do so by the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Personnel (M/DGP) or the Legal Adviser (L), or delegates of either, following consultation between the two bureaus, or as authorized in §172.4(b).

(b) With respect to the official functions of the Passport Office, the Visa Office, and the Office of Citizens Services, the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs or delegate thereof may, subject to concurrence by the Office of the Legal Adviser, authorize employees to provide oral or written testimony.

(c) No employee shall, in response to a demand or request in connection with any litigation, produce for use at such proceedings any document or any material acquired as part of the performance of that employee's duties or by virtue of that employee's official status, unless authorized to do so by the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Personnel, the Legal Adviser, or the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, or the delegates thereof, as appropriate, following consultations between the concerned bureaus.

§172.5   Procedure when testimony or production of documents is sought; general.

(a) If official Department information is sought, through testimony or otherwise, by a request or demand, the party seeking such release or testimony must (except as otherwise required by federal law or authorized by the Office of the Legal Adviser) set forth in writing, and with as much specificity as possible, the nature and relevance of the official information sought. Subject to §172.7, Department employees may only produce, disclose, release, comment upon, or testify concerning those matters which were specified in writing and properly approved by the appropriate Department official designated in §172.4. See United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951). The Office of the Legal Adviser may waive this requirement in appropriate circumstances.

(b) To the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, the Department may also require from the party seeking such testimony or documents a plan of all reasonably foreseeable demands, including but not limited to the names of all employees and former employees from whom discovery will be sought, areas of inquiry, expected duration of proceedings requiring oral testimony, and identification of potentially relevant documents.

(c) The appropriate Department official designated in §172.4 will notify the Department employee and such other persons as circumstances may warrant of its decision regarding compliance with the request or demand.

(d) The Office of the Legal Adviser will consult with the Department of Justice regarding legal representation for Department employees in appropriate cases.

[57 FR 32896, July 24, 1992, as amended at 83 FR 17489, Apr. 20, 2018]

§172.6   Procedure when response to demand is required prior to receiving instructions.

(a) If a response to a demand is required before the appropriate Department official designated in §172.4 renders a decision, the Department will request that either a Department of Justice attorney or a Department attorney designated for the purpose:

(1) Appear with the employee upon whom the demand has been made;

(2) Furnish the court or other authority with a copy of the regulations contained in this part;

(3) Inform the court or other authority that the demand has been, or is being, as the case may be, referred for the prompt consideration of the appropriate Department official; and

(4) Respectfully request the court or authority to stay the demand pending receipt of the requested instructions.

(b) In the event that an immediate demand for production or disclosure is made in circumstances which would preclude the proper designation or appearance of a Department of Justice or Department attorney on the employee's behalf, the employee shall respectfully request the demanding court or authority for a reasonable stay of proceedings for the purpose of obtaining instructions from the Department.

[57 FR 32896, July 24, 1992, as amended at 83 FR 17489, Apr. 20, 2018]

§172.7   Procedure in the event of an adverse ruling.

If the court or other judicial or quasi-judicial authority declines to stay the effect of the demand in response to a request made pursuant to §172.6, or if the court or other authority rules that the demand must be complied with irrespective of the Department's instructions not to produce the material or disclose the information sought, the employee upon whom the demand has been made shall respectfully decline to comply with the demand, citing this part and United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951).

§172.8   Considerations in determining whether the Department will comply with a demand or request.

(a) In deciding whether to comply with a demand or request, Department officials and attorneys shall consider, among others:

(1) Whether such compliance would be unduly burdensome or otherwise inappropriate under the applicable rules of discovery or the rules of procedure governing the case or matter in which the demand arose;

(2) Whether compliance is appropriate under the relevant substantive law concerning privilege or disclosure of information;

(3) The public interest;

(4) The need to conserve the time of Department employees for the conduct of official business;

(5) The need to avoid spending the time and money of the United States for private purposes;

(6) The need to maintain impartiality between private litigants in cases where a substantial government interest is not implicated;

(7) Whether compliance would have an adverse effect on performance by the Department of its mission and duties; and

(8) The need to avoid involving the Department in controversial issues not related to its mission.

(b) Among those demands and requests in response to which compliance will not ordinarily be authorized are those with respect to which, inter alia, any of the following factors exist:

(1) Compliance would violate a statute or a rule of procedure;

(2) Compliance would violate a specific regulation or executive order;

(3) Compliance would reveal information properly classified in the interest of national security;

(4) Compliance would reveal confidential commercial or financial information or trade secrets without the owner's consent;

(5) Compliance would reveal the internal deliberative processes of the Executive Branch; or

(6) Compliance would potentially impede or prejudice an on-going law enforcement investigation.

§172.9   Prohibition on providing expert or opinion testimony.

(a) Except as provided in this section, and subject to 5 CFR 2635.805, Department employees shall not provide opinion or expert testimony based upon information which they acquired in the scope and performance of their official Department duties, except on behalf of the United States or a party represented by the Department of Justice.

(b) Upon a showing by the requestor of exceptional need or unique circumstances and that the anticipated testimony will not be adverse to the interests of the United States, the appropriate Department official designated in §172.4 may, consistent with 5 CFR 2635.805, in their discretion and with the concurrence of the Office of the Legal Adviser, grant special, written authorization for Department employees to appear and testify as expert witnesses at no expense to the United States.

(c) If, despite the final determination of the appropriate Department official designated in §172.4, a court of competent jurisdiction or other appropriate authority orders the appearance and expert or opinion testimony of a Department employee, such employee shall immediately inform the Office of the Legal Adviser of such order. If the Office of the Legal Adviser determines that no further legal review of or challenge to the court's order will be made, the Department employee shall comply with the order. If so directed by the Office of the Legal Adviser, however, the employee shall respectfully decline to testify. See United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951).

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