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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 13, 2020

Title 5Chapter IISubchapter APart 1201Subpart B → Subject Group


Title 5: Administrative Personnel
PART 1201—PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES
Subpart B—Procedures for Appellate Cases


Discovery

§1201.71   Purpose of discovery.

Proceedings before the Board will be conducted as expeditiously as possible with due regard to the rights of the parties. Discovery is designed to enable a party to obtain relevant information needed to prepare the party's case. These regulations are intended to provide a simple method of discovery. They will be interpreted and applied so as to avoid delay and to facilitate adjudication of the case. Parties are expected to start and complete discovery with a minimum of Board intervention. Discovery requests and responses thereto are not to be filed in the first instance with the Board. They are only filed with the Board in connection with a motion to compel discovery under 1201.73(c) of this part, with a motion to subpoena discovery under 1201.73(d) of this part, or as substantive evidence to be considered in the appeal.

[54 FR 53504, Dec. 29, 1989, as amended at 77 FR 62367, Oct. 12, 2012]

§1201.72   Explanation and scope of discovery.

(a) Explanation. Discovery is the process, apart from the hearing, by which a party may obtain relevant information, including the identification of potential witnesses, from another person or a party, that the other person or party has not otherwise provided. Relevant information includes information that appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. This information is obtained to assist the parties in preparing and presenting their cases. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure may be used as a general guide for discovery practices in proceedings before the Board. Those rules, however, are instructive rather than controlling.

(b) Scope. Discovery covers any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to the issues involved in the appeal, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of documents or other tangible things, and the identity and location of persons with knowledge of relevant facts. Discovery requests that are directed to nonparties and nonparty Federal agencies and employees are limited to information that appears directly material to the issues involved in the appeal.

(c) Methods. Parties may use one or more of the methods provided under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. These methods include written interrogatories to parties, depositions, requests for production of documents or things for inspection or copying, and requests for admission.

(d) Limitations. The judge may limit the frequency or extent of use of the discovery methods permitted by these regulations. Such limitations may be imposed if the judge finds that:

(1) The discovery sought is cumulative or duplicative, or is obtainable from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive;

(2) The party seeking discovery has had sufficient opportunity by discovery in the action to obtain the information sought; or

(3) The burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.

[68 FR 54651, Sept. 18, 2003, as amended at 73 FR 18150, Apr. 3, 2008; 73 FR 21415, Apr. 21, 2008]

§1201.73   Discovery procedures.

(a) Initiating discovery. A party seeking discovery must start the process by serving a request for discovery on the representative of the party or nonparty, or, if there is no representative, on the party or nonparty themselves. The request for discovery must state the time limit for responding, as prescribed in 1201.73(d) of this part, and must specify the time and place of the taking of the deposition, if applicable. When a party directs a request for discovery to the official or employee of a Federal agency that is a party, the agency must make the officer or employee available on official time to respond to the request and must assist the officer or employee as necessary in providing relevant information that is available to the agency.

(b) Responses to discovery requests. A party or nonparty must answer a discovery request within the time provided under paragraph (d)(2) of this section, either by furnishing to the requesting party the information requested or agreeing to make deponents available to testify within a reasonable time, or by stating an objection to the particular request and the reasons for the objection. Parties and nonparties may respond to discovery requests by electronic mail if authorized by the requesting party.

(c) Motions to compel or issue a subpoena. (1) If a party fails or refuses to respond in full to a discovery request, the requesting party may file a motion to compel discovery. If a nonparty fails or refuses to respond in full to a discovery request, the requesting party may file a motion for the issuance of a subpoena directed to the individual or entity from which the discovery is sought under the procedures described in 1201.81 of this part. The requesting party must serve a copy of the motion on the other party or nonparty. Before filing any motion to compel or issue a subpoena, the moving party shall discuss the anticipated motion with the opposing party or nonparty, and all those involved shall make a good faith effort to resolve the discovery dispute and narrow the areas of disagreement. The motion shall include:

(i) A copy of the original request and a statement showing that the information sought is discoverable under section 1201.72;

(ii) A copy of the response to the request (including the objections to discovery) or, where appropriate, a statement that no response has been received, along with an affidavit or sworn statement under 28 U.S.C. 1746 supporting the statement (See appendix IV to part 1201); and

(iii) A statement that the moving party has discussed or attempted to discuss the anticipated motion with the nonmoving party or nonparty and made a good faith effort to resolve the discovery dispute and narrow the areas of disagreement.

(2) The party or nonparty from whom discovery was sought may respond to the motion to compel or the motion to issue a subpoena within the time limits stated in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

(d) Time limits. (1) Unless otherwise directed by the judge, parties must serve their initial discovery requests within 30 days after the date on which the judge issues an order to the respondent agency to produce the agency file and response.

(2) A party or nonparty must serve a response to a discovery request promptly, but not later than 20 days after the date of service of the request or order of the judge. Any discovery requests following the initial request must be served within 10 days of the date of service of the prior response, unless the parties are otherwise directed by the judge. Deposition witnesses must give their testimony at the time and place stated in the request for deposition or in the subpoena, unless the parties agree on another time or place.

(3) Any motion for an order to compel or issue a subpoena must be filed with the judge within 10 days of the date of service of objections or, if no response is received, within 10 days after the time limit for response has expired. Any pleading in opposition to a motion to compel or subpoena discovery must be filed with the judge within 10 days of the date of service of the motion.

(4) Discovery must be completed within the time period designated by the judge or, if no such period is designated, no later than the prehearing or close of record conference.

(e) Limits on the number of discovery requests. (1) Absent prior approval by the judge, interrogatories served by parties upon another party or a nonparty may not exceed 25 in number, including all discrete subparts.

(2) Absent prior approval by the judge or agreement by the parties, each party may not take more than 10 depositions.

(3) Requests to exceed the limitations set forth in paragraphs (e)(1) and (e)(2) of this section may be granted at the discretion of the judge. In considering such requests, the judge shall consider the factors identified in §1201.72(d) of this part.

[77 FR 62367, Oct. 12, 2012]

§1201.74   Orders for discovery.

(a) Motion for an order compelling discovery. Motions for orders compelling discovery and motions for the appearance of nonparties must be filed with the judge in accordance with §1201.73(c)(1) and (d)(3). An administrative judge may deny a motion to compel discovery if a party fails to comply with the requirements of 5 CFR 1201.73(c)(1) and (d)(3).

(b) Content of order. Any order issued will include, where appropriate:

(1) A provision that the person to be deposed must be notified of the time and place of the deposition;

(2) Any conditions or limits concerning the conduct or scope of the proceedings or the subject matter that may be necessary to prevent undue delay or to protect a party or other individual or entity from undue expense, embarrassment, or oppression;

(3) Limits on the time for conducting depositions, answering written interrogatories, or producing documentary evidence; and

(4) Other restrictions upon the discovery process that the judge sets.

(c) Noncompliance. The judge may impose sanctions under §1201.43 of this part for failure to comply with an order compelling discovery.

[54 FR 53504, Dec. 29, 1989, as amended at 73 FR 18151, Apr. 3, 2008; 78 FR 23458, Apr. 19, 2013]

§1201.75   Taking depositions.

Depositions may be taken by any method agreed upon by the parties. The person providing information is subject to penalties for intentional false statements.

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