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e-CFR data is current as of September 29, 2020

Title 47Chapter ISubchapter APart 1Subpart B → Subject Group


Title 47: Telecommunication
PART 1—PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Subpart B—Hearing Proceedings


The Discovery and Preservation of Evidence

Authority: Sections 1.311 through 1.325 are issued under secs. 4, 303, 409, 48 Stat., as amended, 1066, 1082, 1096; 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 409, 5 U.S.C. 552.

§1.311   General.

Sections 1.311 through 1.325 provide for taking the deposition of any person (including a party), for interrogatories to parties, and for orders to parties relating to the production of documents and things and for entry upon real property. These procedures may be used for the discovery of relevant facts, for the production and preservation of evidence for use at the hearing, or for both purposes.

(a) Applicability. For purposes of discovery, these proecdures may be used in any case of adjudication (as defined in the Administrative Procedure Act) which has been designated for hearing. For the preservation of evidence, they may be used in any case which has been designated for hearing and is conducted under the provisions of this subpart (see §1.201).

(b) Scope of examination. Persons and parties may be examined regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the hearing issues, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts. It is not ground for objection to use of these procedures that the testimony will be inadmissible at the hearing if the testimony sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. The use of these procedures against the Commission is subject to the following additional limitations:

(1) The informer's privilege shall encompass information which may lead to the disclosure of an informer's identity.

(2) Commission personnel may not be questioned by deposition for the purposes of discovery except on special order of the Commission, but may be questioned by written interrogatories under §1.323. Interrogatories shall be served on the appropriate Bureau Chief (see §1.21(b)). They will be answered and signed by those personnel with knowledge of the facts. The answers will be served by the Secretary of the Commission upon parties to the proceeding.

(3) Commission records are not subject to discovery under §1.325. The inspection of Commission records is governed by the Freedom of Information Act, as amended, and by §§0.451 through 0.467 of this chapter. Commission employees may be questioned by written interrogatories regarding the existence, nature, description, custody, condition and location of Commission records, but may not be questioned concerning their contents unless the records are available (or are made available) for inspection under §§0.451 through 0.467. See §0.451(b)(5) of this chapter.

(4) Subject to paragraphs (b) (1) through (3) of this section, Commission personnel may be questioned generally by written interrogatories regarding the existence, description, nature, custody, condition and location of relevant documents and things and regarding the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts, and may otherwise only be examined regarding facts of the case as to which they have direct personal knowledge.

(c) Schedule for use of the procedures. (1) In comparative broadcast proceedings involving applicants for only new facilities, discovery commences with the release of the hearing designation order, and, in routine cases, the discovery phase of the proceeding will be conducted in a manner intended to conclude that portion of the case within 90 days of the release of the designation order.

(2) In all other proceedings, except as provided by special order of the presiding officer, discovery may be initiated before or after the prehearing conference provided for in §1.248 of this part.

(3) In all proceedings, the presiding officer may at any time order the parties or their attorneys to appear at a conference to consider the proper use of these procedures, the time to be allowed for such use, and/or to hear agrument and render a ruling on disputes that arise under these rules.

(d) Who shall act. Actions provided for in §§1.311 through 1.325 will, in most cases, be taken by the officer designated to preside at the hearing (see §1.241). If the proceeding, or a particular matter to which the action relates, is before the Commission, a commissioner or panel of commissioners, or the Chief Administrative Law Judge, the action will be taken by such officer or body. The term presiding officer, as used in §§1.311 through 1.325 shall be understood to refer to the appropriate officer or body. See §§0.341, 0.351, 0.365, and 1.271 of this chapter.

(e) Stipulations regarding the taking of depositions. If all of the parties so stipulate in writing and if there is no interference to the conduct of the proceeding, depositions may be taken before any person, at any time (subject to the limitation below) or place, upon any notice and in any manner, and when so taken may be used like other depositions. An original and one copy of the stipulation shall be filed with the Secretary of the Commission, and a copy of the stipulation shall be served on the presiding officer, at least 3 days before the scheduled taking of the deposition.

[33 FR 463, Jan. 12, 1968, as amended at 40 FR 39509, Aug. 28, 1975; 47 FR 51873, Nov. 18, 1982; 56 FR 794, Jan. 9, 1991; 62 FR 4171, Jan. 29, 1997]

§1.313   Protective orders.

The use of the procedures set forth in §§1.311 through 1.325 of this part is subject to control by the presiding officer, who may issue any order consistent with the provisions of those sections which is appropriate and just for the purpose of protecting parties and deponents or of providing for the proper conduct of the proceeding. Whenever doing so would be conducive to the efficient and expeditious conduct of the proceeding, the presiding officer may convene a conference to hear argument and issue a ruling on any disputes that may arise under these rules. The ruling, whether written or delivered on the record at a conference, may specify any measures, including the following to assure proper conduct of the proceeding or to protect any party or deponent from annoyance, expense, embarrassment or oppression:

(a) That depositions shall not be taken or that interrogatories shall not be answered.

(b) That certain matters shall not be inquired into.

(c) That the scope of the examination or interrogatories shall be limited to certain matters.

(d) That depositions may be taken only at some designated time or place, or before an officer, other than that stated in the notice.

(e) That depositions may be taken only by written interrogatories or only upon oral examination.

(f) That, after being sealed, the deposition shall be opened only by order of the presiding officer.

[33 FR 463, Jan. 12, 1968, as amended at 56 FR 794, Jan. 9, 1991]

§1.315   Depositions upon oral examination—notice and preliminary procedure.

(a) Notice. A party to a hearing proceeding desiring to take the deposition of any person upon oral examination shall give a minimum of 21 days notice in writing to every other party, to the person to be examined, and to the presiding officer. An original and three copies of the notice shall be filed with the Secretary of the Commission. Related pleadings shall be served and filed in the same manner. The notice shall contain the following information:

(1) The name and address of each person to be examined, if known, and if the name is not known, a general description sufficient to identify him or the particular class or group to which he belongs.

(2) The time and place for taking the deposition of each person to be examined, and the name or descriptive title and address of the officer before whom the deposition is to be taken.

(3) The matters upon which each person will be examined. See §1.319.

(b) Responsive pleadings. (1) Within 7 days after service of the notice to take depositions, a motion opposing the taking of depositions may be filed by any party to the proceeding or by the person to be examined. See §1.319(a).

(2) Within 14 days after service of the notice to take depositions, a response to the opposition motion may be filed by any party to the proceeding.

(3) Additional pleadings should not be filed and will not be considered.

(4) The computation of time provisions set forth in §1.4(g) shall not apply to pleadings filed under the provisions of this paragraph.

(c) Protective order. On an opposition motion filed under paragraph (b) of this section, or on his own motion, the presiding officer may issue a protective order. See §1.313. A protective order issued by the presiding officer on his own motion may be issued at any time prior to the date specified in the notice for the taking of depositions.

(d) Authority to take depositions. (1) If an opposition motion is not filed within 7 days after service of the notice to take depositions, and if the presiding officer does not on his own motion issue a protective order prior to the time specified in the notice for the taking of depositions, the depositions described in the notice may be taken. An order for the taking of depositions is not required.

(2) If an opposition motion is filed, the depositions described in the notice shall not be taken until the presiding officer has acted on that motion. If the presiding officer authorizes the taking of depositions, he may specify a time, place or officer for taking them different from that specified in the notice to take depositions.

(3) If the presiding officer issues a protective order, the depositions described in the notice may be taken (if at all) only in accordance with the provisions of that order.

(e) Broadcast comparative proceedings involving applicants for only new facilities. In these cases, the 21-day advance notice provision of paragraph (a) of this section shall be inapplicable to depositions of active and passive owners of applicants in the proceeding. All applicants in such proceedings should be prepared to make their active and passive owners available for depositions during the period commencing with the deadline for filing notices of appearance and ending 90 days after the release of the designation order, if such depositions are requested by a party to the proceeding. All such depositions will be conducted in Washington, DC or in the community of license of the proposed station, at the deponent's option, unless all parties agree to some other location.

[33 FR 10571, July 25, 1968, as amended at 56 FR 794, Jan. 9, 1991]

§1.316   Depositions upon written interrogatories—notice and preliminary procedure.

(a) Service of interrogatories; notice. A party to the hearing proceeding desiring to take the deposition of any person upon written interrogatories shall serve the interrogatories upon every other party and shall give a minimum of 35 days notice in writing to every other party and to the person to be examined. An original and three copies of the interrogatories and the notice (and of all related pleadings) shall be filed with the Secretary of the Commission. A copy of the interrogatories and the notice (and of all related pleadings) shall be served on the presiding officer. The notice shall contain the following information:

(1) The name and address of each person to be examined, if known, and if the name is not known, a general description sufficient to identify him or the particular class or group to which he belongs.

(2) The time and place for taking the deposition of each person to be examined, and the name or descriptive title and address of the officer before whom the deposition is to be taken.

(3) The matters upon which each person will be examined. See §1.319.

(b) Additional interrogatories. Within 7 days after the filing and service of the original interrogatories, any other party to the proceeding may, in the same manner, file and serve additional interrogatories to be asked of the same witness at the same time and place, with notice to the witness of any additional matters upon which he will be examined.

(c) Cross interrogatories. Within 14 days after the filing and service of the original interrogatories, any party to the proceeding may, in the same manner, file and serve cross interrogatories, which shall be limited to matters raised in the original or in the additional interrogatories.

(d) Responsive pleadings. (1) Within 21 days after service of the original interrogatories, any party to the proceeding may move to limit or suppress any original, additional or cross interrogatory, and the person to be examined may file a motion opposing the taking of depositions. See §1.319(a).

(2) Within 28 days after service of the original interrogatories, a response to a motion to limit or suppress any interrogatory or to a motion opposing the taking of depositions may be filed by any party to the proceeding.

(3) Additional pleadings should not be filed and will not be considered.

(e) Protective order. On a motion to limit or suppress or an opposition motion filed under paragraph (d) of this section, or on his own motion, the presiding officer may issue a protective order. See §1.313. A protective order issued by the presiding officer on his own motion may be issued at any time prior to the date specified in the notice for the taking of depositions.

(f) Authority to take depositions. (1) If an opposition motion is not filed within 21 days after service of the notice to take depositions, and if the presiding officer does not on his own motion issue a protective order prior to the time specified in the notice for the taking of depositions, the depositions described in the notice may be taken. An order for the taking of depositions is not required.

(2) If an opposition motion is filed, the depositions described in the notice shall not be taken until the presiding officer has acted on that motion. If the presiding officer authorizes the taking of depositions, he may specify a time, place or officer for taking them different from that specified in the notice to take depositions.

(3) If the presiding officer issues a protective order, the depositions described in the notice may be taken (if at all) only in accordance with the provisions of that order.

Note: The computation of time provisions of §1.4(g) shall not apply to interrogatories and pleadings filed under the provisions of this section.

[33 FR 10571, July 25, 1968]

§1.318   The taking of depositions.

(a) Persons before whom depositions may be taken. Depositions shall be taken before any judge of any court of the United States; any U.S. Commissioner; any clerk of a district court; any chancellor, justice or judge of a supreme or superior court; the mayor or chief magistrate of a city; any judge of a county court, or court of common pleas of any of the United States; any notary public, not being of counsel or attorney to any party, nor interested in the event of the proceeding; or presiding officers, as provided in §1.243.

(b) Attendance of witnesses. The attendance of witnesses at the taking of depositions may be compelled by the use of subpena as provided in §§1.331 through 1.340.

(c) Oath; transcript. The officer before whom the deposition is to be taken shall administer an oath or affirmation to the witness and shall personally, or by someone acting under his direction and in his presence record the testimony of the witness. The testimony may be taken stenographically or, upon approval by the presiding officer, testimony may be taken through the use of telephonically or electronically recorded methods, including videotape. In the event these latter methods are used for the deposition, the parties may agree to the waiver of the provisions of paragraphs (e) and (f) as appropriate and as approved by the presiding officer.

(d) Examination. (1) In the taking of depositions upon oral examination, the parties may proceed with examination and cross-examination of deponents as permitted at the hearing. In lieu of participating in the oral examination, parties served with the notice to take depositions may transmit written interrogatories to the officer designated in the notice, who shall propound them to the witness and record the answers verbatim.

(2) In the taking of depositions upon written interrogatories, the party who served the original interrogatories shall transmit copies of all interrogatories to the officer designated in the notice, who shall propound them to the witness and record the answers verbatim.

(e) Submission of deposition to witness; changes; signing. When the testimony is fully transcribed, the deposition of each witness shall be submitted to him for examination and shall be read to or by him, unless such examination and reading are waiver by the witness and by the parties. Any changes in form or substance which the witness desires to make shall be entered upon the deposition by the officer with a statement of the reasons given by the witness for making them. The deposition shall then be signed by the witness, unless the parties by stipulation waive the signing, or the witness is ill, cannot be found, or refuses to sign. If the deposition is not signed by the witness, the officer shall sign it and state on the record the fact of the waiver, the illness or absence of the witness, or of his refusal to sign, together with the reason (if any) given therefor; and the deposition may then be used as fully as though signed, unless upon a motion to suppress, the presiding officer holds that the reason given for the refusal to sign requires rejection of the deposition in whole or in part.

(f) Certification of deposition and filing by officer; copies. The officer shall certify on the deposition that the witness was duly sworn by him, that the deposition is a true record of the testimony given by the witness, and that said officer is not of counsel or attorney to either of the parties, nor interested in the event of the proceeding or investigation. He shall then securely seal the deposition in an envelope endorsed with the title of the action and marked “Deposition of (here insert name of witness)” and shall promptly send the original and two copies of the deposition and of all exhibits, together with the notice and any interrogatories received by him, by certified mail to the Secretary of the Commission.

[33 FR 463, Jan. 12, 1968, as amended at 47 FR 51873, Nov. 18, 1982]

§1.319   Objections to the taking of depositions.

(a) Objections to be made by motion prior to the taking of depositions. If there is objection to the substance of any interrogatory or to examination on any matter clearly covered by the notice to take depositions, the objection shall be made in a motion opposing the taking of depositions or in a motion to limit or suppress the interrogatory as provided in §§1.315(b) and 1.316(d) and shall not be made at the taking of the deposition.

(b) Objections to be made at the taking of depositions. Errors and irregularities occurring at the oral examination in the manner of taking the deposition, in the form of the questions or answers, in the oath or affirmation, or in the conduct of parties, and errors of any kind which might be obviated, removed, or cured if promptly presented, are waived unless reasonable objection thereto is made at the taking of the deposition. If such objection is made, counsel shall, if possible, agree upon the measures required to obviate, remove, or cure such errors. The measures agreed upon shall be taken. If agreement cannot be reached, the objection shall be noted on the deposition by the officer taking it, and the testimony objected to shall be taken subject to the objection.

(c) Additional objections which may be made at the taking of depositions. Objection may be made at the taking of depositions on the ground of relevancy or privilege, if the notice to take depositions does not clearly indicate that the witness is to be examined on the matters to which the objection relates. See paragraph (a) of this section. Objection may also be made on the ground that the examination is being conducted in such manner as to unreasonably annoy, embarrass, or oppress a deponent or party.

(1) When there is objection to a line of questioning, as permitted by this paragraph, counsel shall, if possible, reach agreement among themselves regarding the proper limits of the examination.

(2) If counsel cannot agree on the proper limits of the examination the taking of depositions shall continue on matters not objected to and counsel shall, within 24 hours, either jointly or individually, telegraph statements of their positions to the presiding officer, together with the telephone numbers at which they and the officer taking the depositions can be reached, or shall otherwise jointly confer with the presiding officer. If individual statements are submitted, copies shall be provided to all counsel participating in the taking of depositions.

(3) The presiding officer shall promptly rule upon the question presented or take such other action as may be appropriate under §1.313, and shall give notice of his ruling, by telephone, to counsel who submitted statements and to the officer taking the depositions. The presiding officer shall thereafter reduce his ruling to writing.

(4) The taking of depositions shall continue in accordance with the presiding officer's ruling. Such rulings are not subject to appeal.

[33 FR 463, Jan. 12, 1968]

§1.321   Use of depositions at the hearing.

(a) No inference concerning the admissibility of a deposition in evidence shall be drawn because of favorable action on the notice to take depositions.

(b) Except as provided in this paragraph and in §1.319, objection may be made at the hearing to receiving in evidence any deposition or part thereof for any reason which would require the exclusion of the evidence if the witness were then present and testifying.

(1) Objections to the competency of a witness, or the competency, relevancy or materiality of testimony are waived by failure to make them before or during the taking of depositions if (and only if) the ground of the objection is one which might have been obviated or removed if presented at that time.

(2) Objection on the ground of privilege is waived by failure to make it before or during the taking of depositions.

(c) A party shall not be deemed to make a person his own witness for any purpose by taking his deposition. The introduction in evidence of the deposition or any part thereof for any purpose other than that of contradicting or impeaching the deponent makes the deponent the witness of the party introducing the deposition, but this shall not apply to the use by an adverse party of a deposition as described in paragraph (d)(2) of this section. At the hearing any party may rebut any relevant evidence contained in a deposition whether introduced by him or by any other party.

(d) At the hearing (or in a pleading), any part or all of a deposition, so far as admissible, may be used against any party who was present or represented at the taking of the deposition or who had due notice thereof, in accordance with any one of the following provisions:

(1) Any deposition may be used by any party for the purpose of contradicting or impeaching the testimony of deponent as a witness.

(2) The deposition of a party or of any one who at the time of taking the deposition was an officer, director, or managing agent of a public or private corporation, partnership or association which is a party may be used by an adverse party for any purpose.

(3) To the extent that the affirmative direct case of a party is made in writing pursuant to §1.248(d), the deposition of any witness, whether or not a party, may be used by any party for any purpose, provided the witness is made available for cross-examination. In all cases, the deposition of a witness, whether or not a party, may be used by any party for any purpose if the presiding officer finds: (i) That the witness is dead; or (ii) that the witness is out of the United States, unless it appears that the absence of the witness was procured by the party offering the deposition; or (iii) that the witness is unable to attend or testify because of age, sickness, infirmity, or imprisonment; or (iv) upon application and notice, that such exceptional circumstances exist as to make it desirable in the interest of justice and with due regard to the importance of presenting the testimony of witnesses orally in open hearing, to allow the deposition to be used.

(4) If only part of a deposition is offered in evidence by a party, an adverse party may require him to introduce all of it which is relevant to the part introduced, and any party may introduce any other parts.

(5) Substitution of parties does not affect the right to use depositions previously taken; and, when an action in any hearing has been dismissed and another action involving the same subject matter is afterward brought between the same parties or their representatives or successors in interest, all depositions lawfully taken and duly filed in the former action may be used in the latter as if originally taken therefor.

[33 FR 463, Jan. 12, 1968, as amended at 41 FR 14874, Apr. 8, 1976]

§1.323   Interrogatories to parties.

(a) Interrogatories. Any party may serve upon any other party written interrogatories to be answered in writing by the party served or, if the party served is a public or private corporation or a partnership or association, by any officer or agent, who shall furnish such information as is available to the party. A copy of the interrogatories shall be served upon all parties to the proceeding. An original and three copies of the interrogatories, answers, and all related pleadings shall be filed with the Secretary of the Commission. A copy of the interrogatories, answers and all related pleadings shall be served on the presiding officer.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in a protective order, the number of interrogatories or sets of interrogatories is not limited.

(2) Except as provided in such an order, interrogatories may be served after a deposition has been taken, and a deposition may be sought after interrogatories have been answered.

(b) Answers and objections. Each interrogatory shall be answered separately and fully in writing under oath or affirmation, unless it is objected to, in which event the reasons for objection shall be stated in lieu of an answer. The answers shall be signed by the person making them, and the objections by the attorney making them. The party upon whom the interrogatories were served shall serve a copy of the answers and objections upon all parties to the proceeding within 14 days after service of the interrogatories, or within such shorter or longer period as the presiding officer may allow. Answers may be used in the same manner as depositions of a party (see §1.321(d)).

(c) Motion to compel an answer. Any party to the proceeding may, within 7 days, move for an order with respect to any objection or other failure to answer an interrogatory. For purposes of this paragraph, an evasive or incomplete answer is a failure to answer; and if the motion is based on the assertion that the answer is evasive or incomplete, it shall contain a statement as to the scope and detail of an answer which would be considered responsive and complete. The party upon whom the interrogatories were served may file a response within 7 days after the motion is filed, to which he may append an answer or an amended answer. Additional pleadings should not be submitted and will not be considered.

(d) Action by the presiding officer. If the presiding officer determines that an objection is not justified, he shall order that the answer be served. If an interrogatory has not been answered, the presiding officer may rule that the right to object has been waived and may order that an answer be served. If an answer does not comply fully with the requirements of this section, the presiding officer may order that an amended answer be served, may specify the scope and detail of the matters to be covered by the amended answer, and may specify any appropriate procedural consequences (including adverse findings of fact and dismissal with prejudice) which will follow from the failure to make a full and responsive answer. If a full and responsive answer is not made, the presiding officer may issue an order invoking any of the procedural consequences specified in the order to compel an answer.

(e) Appeal. As order to compel an answer is not subject to appeal.

[33 FR 10572, July 25, 1968, as amended at 35 FR 17334, Nov. 11, 1970]

§1.325   Discovery and production of documents and things for inspection, copying, or photographing.

(a) A party to a Commission proceeding may request any other party except the Commission to produce and permit inspection and copying or photographing, by or on behalf of the requesting party, of any designated documents, papers, books, accounts, letters, photographs, objects, or tangible things which constitute or contain evidence within the scope of the examination permitted by §1.311(b) of this part and which are in his possession, custody, or control or to permit entry upon designated land or other property in his possession or control for purposes of inspecting, measuring, surveying, or photographing the property or any designated object or operation thereon within the scope of the examination permitted by §1.311(b) of this part.

(1) Such requests need not be filed with the presiding officer, but copies of the request shall be served on all other parties to the proceeding.

(2) The party against whom the request was made must, within 10 days, comply with the request or object to the request, claiming a privilege or raising other proper objections. If the request is not complied with in whole or in part, the requesting party may file a motion to compel production of documents or access to property with the presiding officer. A motion to compel must be accompanied by a copy of the original request and the responding party's objection or claim of privilege. Motions to compel must be filed within five business days of the objection or claim of privilege.

(3) In resolving any disputes involving the production of documents or access to property, the presiding officer may direct that the materials objected to be presented to him for in camera inspection.

(b) Any party seeking the production of Commission records should proceed under §0.460 or §0.461 of this chapter. See §§0.451 through 0.467.

[33 FR 463, Jan. 12, 1968, as amended at 40 FR 39509, Aug. 28, 1975; 56 FR 794, Jan. 9, 1991; 56 FR 25639, June 5, 1991; 76 FR 70908, Nov. 16, 2011]

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