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e-CFR data is current as of October 21, 2019

Title 14Chapter ISubchapter B → Part 14


Title 14: Aeronautics and Space


PART 14—RULES IMPLEMENTING THE EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT OF 1980


Contents

Subpart A—General Provisions

§14.01   Purpose of these rules.
§14.02   Proceedings covered.
§14.03   Eligibility of applicants.
§14.04   Standards for awards.
§14.05   Allowance fees and expenses.

Subpart B—Information Required From Applicants

§14.10   Contents of application.
§14.11   Net worth exhibit.
§14.12   Documentation of fees and expenses.

Subpart C—Procedures for Considering Applications

§14.20   When an application may be filed.
§14.21   Filing and service of documents.
§14.22   Answer to application.
§14.23   Reply.
§14.24   Comments by other parties.
§14.25   Settlement.
§14.26   Further proceedings.
§14.27   Decision.
§14.28   Review by FAA decisionmaker.
§14.29   Judicial review.
§14.30   Payment of award.

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 504; 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40113, 46104 and 47122.

Source: Docket No. 25958, 54 FR 46199, Nov. 1, 1989, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A—General Provisions

§14.01   Purpose of these rules.

The Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. 504 (the Act), provides for the award of attorney fees and other expenses to eligible individuals and entities who are parties to certain administrative proceedings (adversary adjudications) before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). An eligible party may receive an award when it prevails over the FAA, unless the agency's position in the proceeding was substantially justified 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 FAA Decisionmaker will use to make them. As used hereinafter, the term “agency” applies to the FAA.

§14.02   Proceedings covered.

(a) The Act applies to certain adversary adjudications conducted by the FAA under 49 CFR part 17 and the Acquisition Management System (AMS). These are adjudications under 5 U.S.C. 554, in which the position of the FAA is represented by an attorney or other representative who enters an appearance and participates in the proceeding. This subpart applies to proceedings under 49 U.S.C. 46301, 46302, and 46303 and to the Default Adjudicative Process under part 17 of this chapter and the AMS.

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

(c) Fees and other expenses may not be awarded to a party for any portion of the adversary adjudication in which such party has unreasonably protracted the proceedings.

[54 FR 46199, Nov. 1, 1989, as amended by Amdt. 14-03, 64 FR 32935, June 18, 1999]

§14.03   Eligibility of applicants.

(a) To be eligible for an award of attorney fees and other expenses under the Act, the applicant must be a party to the adversary adjudication for which it seeks an award. The term “party” is defined in 5 U.S.C. 504(b)(1)(B) and 5 U.S.C. 551(3). The applicant must show that it meets all conditions or eligibility set out in this subpart.

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

(1) An individual with a net worth of not more than $2 million at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated;

(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 at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated;

(3) A charitable or other tax-exempt organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) with not more than 500 employees at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated; and

(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 at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated; and

(5) Any other partnership, corporation, association, or public or private organization with a net worth of not more than $7 million and not more than 500 employees at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated.

(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 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 interest.

(e) The 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 ALJ or adjudicative officer determines that such treatment would be unjust and contrary to the purposes of the Act in light of the actual relationship between the affiliated entities. In addition, the ALJ or adjudicative officer 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 if not itself eligible for an award.

[54 FR 46199, Nov. 1, 1989, as amended by Amdt. 14-03, 64 FR 32935, June 18, 1999]

§14.04   Standards for awards.

(a) A prevailing applicant may receive an award for attorney fees and other expenses incurred in connection with a proceeding, or in a significant and discrete substantive portion of the proceeding, unless the position of the agency over which the applicant has prevailed was substantially justified. Whether or not the position of the FAA was substantially justified shall be determined on the basis of the record (including the record with respect to the action or failure to act by the agency upon which the civil action is based) which was made in the civil action for which fees and other expenses are sought. The burden of proof that an award should not be made to an eligible prevailing applicant is on the agency counsel, who may avoid an award by showing that the agency's position was reasonable in law and fact.

(b) An award will be reduced or denied if the applicant has unduly or unreasonably protracted the proceeding or if special circumstances make the award sought unjust.

§14.05   Allowance fees and expenses.

(a) Awards will be based on rates customarily charged by persons engaged in the business of acting as attorneys, agents, and expert witnesses, even if the services were made available without charge or at a reduced rate to the applicant.

(b) No award for the fee of an attorney or agent under this part may exceed $125 per hour, or such rate as prescribed by 5 U.S.C. 504. No award to compensate an expert witness may exceed the highest rate at which the agency 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 clients separately for such expenses.

(c) In determining the reasonableness of the fee sought for an attorney, agent, or expert witness, the ALJ or adjudicative officer 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 services 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 the issuance of a complaint, or in the Default Adjudicative Process for a protest or contract dispute under part 17 of this chapter and the AMS.

[Amdt. 13-18, 53 FR 34655, Sept. 7, 1988, as amended by Amdt. 14-1, 55 FR 15131, Apr. 20, 1990; Amdt. 14-03, 64 FR 32935, June 18, 1999]

Subpart B—Information Required From Applicants

§14.10   Contents of application.

(a) An application for an award of fees and expenses under the Act shall identify the applicant and the proceeding for which an award is sought. The application shall show that the applicant has prevailed and identify the position of the agency in the proceeding that the applicant alleges was not substantially justified. Unless the applicant is an individual, the application shall also state the number of employees of the applicant and describe briefly the type and purpose of its organization or business.

(b) The application shall also include 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) at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated. However, an applicant may omit this statement 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 this agency 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 for 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.

(f) If the applicant is a partnership, corporation, association, organization, or sole owner of an unincorporated business, the application shall state that the applicant did not have more than 500 employees at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated, giving the number of its employees and describing briefly the type and purpose of its organization or business.

§14.11   Net worth exhibit.

(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 when the proceeding was initiated. If any individual, corporation, or other entity directly or indirectly controls or owns a majority of the voting shares or other interest of the applicant, or if the applicant directly or indirectly owns or controls a majority of the voting shares or other interest of any corporation or other entity, the exhibit must include a showing of the net worth of all such affiliates or of the applicant including the affiliates. 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 part. The administrative law judge may require an applicant to file additional information to determine the eligibility for an award.

(b) The net worth exhibit shall describe any transfers of assets from, or obligations incurred by, the applicant or any affiliate, occurring in the one-year period prior to the date on which the proceeding was initiated, that reduced the net worth of the applicant and its affiliates below the applicable net worth ceiling. If there were no such transactions, the applicant shall so state.

(c) Ordinarily, the net worth exhibit will be included in the public record of the proceeding. However, an applicant that objects to public disclosure of the net worth exhibit, or any part of it, may submit that portion of the exhibit directly to the ALJ or adjudicative officer in a sealed envelope labeled “Confidential Financial Information,” accompanied by a motion to withhold the information.

(1) The motion shall describe the information sought to be withheld and explain, in detail, why it should be exempt under applicable law or regulation, why public disclosure would adversely affect the applicant, and why disclosure is not required in the public interest.

(2) The net worth exhibit shall be served on the FAA counsel, but need not be served on any other party to the proceeding.

(3) If the ALJ or adjudicative officer finds that the net worth exhibit, or any part of it, 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 FAA's established procedures.

[54 FR 46199, Nov. 1, 1989, as amended by Amdt. 14-03, 64 FR 32935, June 18, 1999]

§14.12   Documentation of fees and expenses.

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 the hours spent in connection with the proceedings 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.

Subpart C—Procedures for Considering Applications

§14.20   When an application may be filed.

(a) An application may be filed whenever the applicant has prevailed in the proceeding, but in no case later than 30 days after the FAA Decisionmaker's final disposition of the proceeding, or service of the order of the Administrator in a proceeding under the AMS.

(b) If review or reconsideration is sought or taken of a decision 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 part, final disposition means the later of:

(1) Under part 17 of this chapter and the AMS, the date on which the order of the Administrator is served;

(2) The date on which an unappealed initial decision becomes administratively final;

(3) Issuance of an order disposing of any petitions for reconsideration of the FAA Decisionmaker's final order in the proceeding;

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

(5) Issuance of a final order or any other final resolution of a proceeding, such as a settlement or voluntary dismissal, which is not subject to a petition for reconsideration.

[54 FR 46199, Nov. 1, 1989, as amended by Amdt. 14-03, 64 FR 32936, June 18, 1999]

§14.21   Filing and service of documents.

Any application for an award or other pleading or document related 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 §14.11(b) for confidential financial information. Where the proceeding was held under part 17 of this chapter and the AMS, the application shall be filed with the FAA's attorney and with the Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition.

[Doc. No. FAA-1998-4379, 64 FR 32936, June 18, 1999]

§14.22   Answer to application.

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

(b) If the FAA's 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 ALJ or adjudicative officer upon request by the FAA's 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 agency counsel's position. If the answer is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, agency counsel shall include with the answer either supporting affidavits or a request for further proceedings under §14.26.

[54 FR 46199, Nov. 1, 1989, as amended by Amdt. 14-03, 64 FR 32936, June 18, 1999]

§14.23   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 §14.26.

§14.24   Comments by other parties.

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

[Doc. No. FAA-1998-4379, 64 FR 32936, June 18, 1999]

§14.25   Settlement.

The applicant and agency 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 agency counsel agree on a proposed settlement of an award before an application has been filed, the application shall be filed with the proposed settlement.

§14.26   Further proceedings.

(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 agency counsel, or on his or her own initiative, the ALJ or adjudicative officer assigned to the matter may order further proceedings, such as an informal conference, oral argument, additional written submissions, or 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.

(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.

[54 FR 46199, Nov. 1, 1989, as amended by Amdt. 14-03, 64 FR 32936, June 18, 1999]

§14.27   Decision.

(a) The ALJ shall issue an initial decision on the application within 60 days after completion of proceedings on the application.

(b) An adjudicative officer in a proceeding under part 17 of this chapter and the AMS shall prepare a findings and recommendations for the Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition.

(c) A decision under paragraph (a) or (b) of this section shall include written findings and conclusions on the applicant's eligibility and status as prevailing party 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 FAA's position was substantially justified, or whether special circumstances make an award unjust.

[Doc. No. FAA-1998-4379, 64 FR 32936, June 18, 1999]

§14.28   Review by FAA decisionmaker.

(a) In proceedings other than those under part 17 of this chapter and the AMS, either the applicant or the FAA counsel may seek review of the initial decision on the fee application in accordance with subpart G of part 13 of this chapter, specifically §13.233. Additionally, the FAA Decisionmaker may decide to review the decision on his/her own initiative. If neither the applicant nor the FAA's counsel seeks review within 30 days after the decision is issued, it shall become final. Whether to review a decision is a matter within the discretion of the FAA Decisionmaker. If review is taken, the FAA Decisionmaker will issue a final decision on the application or remand the application to the ALJ who issue the initial fee award determination for further proceedings.

(b) In proceedings under part 17 of this chapter and the AMS, the adjudicative officer shall prepare findings and recommendations for the Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition with recommendations as to whether or not an award should be made, the amount of the award, and the reasons therefor. The Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition shall submit a recommended order to the Administrator after the completion of all submissions related to the EAJA application. Upon the Administrator's action, the order shall become final, and may be reviewed under 49 U.S.C. 46110.

[Doc. No. FAA-1998-4379, 64 FR 32936, June 18, 1999, as amended at 70 FR 8238, Feb. 18, 2005]

§14.29   Judicial review.

If an applicant is dissatisfied with the determination of fees and other expenses made under this subsection, pursuant 5 U.S.C. 504(c)(2), that applicant may, within thirty (30) days after the determination is made, appeal the determination to the court of the United States having jurisdiction to review the merits of the underlying decision of the FAA adversary adjudication. The court's determination on any appeal heard under this paragraph shall be based solely on the factual record made before the FAA. The court may modify the determination of fees and other expenses only if the court finds that the failure to make an award of fees and other expenses, or the calculation of the amount of the award, was unsupported by substantial evidence.

§14.30   Payment of award.

An applicant seeking payment of an award shall submit to the disbursing official of the FAA a copy of the FAA Decisionmaker'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. Applications for award grants in cases involving the FAA shall be sent to: The Office of Accounting and Audit, AAA-1, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591. The agency will pay the amount awarded to the applicant within 60 days, unless judicial review of the award or of the underlying decision of the adversary adjudication has been sought by the applicant or any other party to the proceeding.

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