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e-CFR data is current as of September 24, 2020

Title 12Chapter VIISubchapter APart 747 → Subpart G


Title 12: Banks and Banking
PART 747—ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS, ADJUDICATIVE HEARINGS, RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE, AND INVESTIGATIONS


Subpart G—Local Rules and Procedures Applicable to Recovery of Attorneys Fees and Other Expenses Under the Equal Access to Justice Act in NCUA Board Adjudications


Contents
§747.601   Purpose and scope.
§747.602   Eligibility of applicants.
§747.603   Prevailing party.
§747.604   Standards for award.
§747.605   Allowable fees and expenses.
§747.606   Contents of application.
§747.607   Statement of net worth.
§747.608   Documentation of fees and expenses.
§747.609   Filing and service of applications.
§747.610   Answer to application.
§747.611   Comments by other parties.
§747.612   Settlement.
§747.613   Further proceedings.
§747.614   Recommended decision.
§747.615   Decision of the NCUA Board.
§747.616   Payment of award.

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§747.601   Purpose and scope.

This subpart contains the regulations of the NCUA implementing the Equal Access to Justice Act (5 U.S.C. 504), as amended (“EAJA”). The EAJA provides for the award of attorneys fees and other expenses to eligible individuals and entities who are parties to proceedings conducted under this part. An eligible party may receive an award when it prevails over NCUA in a proceeding, or in a significant and discrete substantive portion of the proceeding, unless the position of the NCUA was substantially justified or special circumstances make an award unjust. The rules in this subpart describe the parties eligible for fee awards, explain how to apply for awards and the procedures and standards that NCUA will use to make them. To the extent a rule or procedure set forth in subpart A of this part is inconsistent with a rule or procedure set forth in this subpart G, subpart G will control.

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§747.602   Eligibility of applicants.

(a) To be eligible for an award of attorneys fees and expenses, an applicant must be a prevailing party in the proceeding for which it seeks an award and must be:

(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 at the time the proceeding was commenced (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);

(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;

(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; or

(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.

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

(c) The applicant's net worth includes the value of any assets disposed of for the purpose of meeting an eligibility standard and excludes any obligations incurred for this purpose. Transfers of assets or obligations incurred for less than reasonably equivalent value will be presumed to have been made for this purpose.

(d) 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.

(e) 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 subpart, unless the NCUA Board 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 NCUA Board may determine that financial relationships of the applicant other than those described in this paragraph constitute special circumstances that would make an award unjust.

(f) 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.

[56 FR 37767, Aug. 8, 1991, as amended at 75 FR 34622, June 18, 2010]

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§747.603   Prevailing party.

An eligible applicant may be a “prevailing party” if the applicant wins an action after a full hearing or trial on the merits, if a settlement of the proceeding was effected on terms favorable to it, or if the proceeding against it has been dismissed. In appropriate situations an applicant may also have prevailed if the outcome of the proceeding has substantially vindicated the applicant's position on the significant substantive matters at issue, even though the applicant has not totally avoided adverse final action.

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§747.604   Standards for award.

(a) A prevailing party may receive an award for fees and expenses incurred in connection with a proceeding, or in a significant and discrete substantive portion of the proceeding, by or against NCUA unless the position of NCUA during the proceeding was substantially justified. The burden of proving that an award should not be made is on counsel for NCUA. To avoid an award, counsel for NCUA must show that its position was reasonable in law and in 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.

(c) Where an applicant has prevailed on one or more discrete substantive issues in a proceeding, even though all the issues were not resolved in its favor, any award shall be based on the fees and expenses incurred in connection with the discrete significant substantive issue or issues on which the applicant's position has been upheld. If such segregation of costs is not practicable, the award may be based on a fair proration of those fees and expenses incurred in the entire proceeding which would be recoverable under this section if proration were not performed.

(d) Whether separate or prorated treatment under the preceding paragraph, including the applicable proration percentage, is appropriate shall be determined on the facts of the particular case. Attention shall be given to the significance and nature of the respective issues and their separability and interrelationship.

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§747.605   Allowable fees and expenses.

(a) Except as provided by §747.604(b), 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.

(b) No award under this subpart for the fee of an attorney or agent may exceed $75.00 per hour. No award to compensate an expert witness may exceed the highest rate at which NCUA is permitted to pay 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 NCUA Board shall consider the following:

(1) If the attorney, agent, or expert witness is in private practice, his or her customary fee for like services, or, if he or she is 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 expert witness ordinarily performs services;

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

(4) Such other factors as may bear on the value of the services provided.

(d) The reasonable cost of any study, analysis, report, test, project, or similar matter prepared on behalf of the 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.

[56 FR 37767, Aug. 8, 1991, as amended at 75 FR 34622, June 18, 2010]

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§747.606   Contents of application.

(a) A prevailing eligible party, as defined in §§747.602, 747.603, and 747.604, seeking an award under this section, must file an application for an award of fees and expenses with the Secretary of the NCUA Board. The application shall include the following information:

(1) The identity of the applicant and the proceeding for which an award is sought;

(2) A showing that the applicant has prevailed and an identification of the issues in the proceeding on which the applicant believes that the position of NCUA was not substantially justified;

(3) A statement, with supporting documentation, that the applicant is an eligible party, as defined by §747.602. If the applicant is an individual, he or she must state that his or her net worth does not exceed $2 million. If the applicant is not an individual, it shall state the number of its employees and that its net worth does not exceed $7 million as of the date the proceeding was initiated. However, an applicant may omit a statement of net worth if:

(i) 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

(ii) 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)).

(4) A Statement of the amount of fees and expenses for which an award is sought; and

(5) Any other matters that the applicant believes may assist or wishes the NCUA Board to consider in determining whether and in what amount an award should be made.

(b) 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.

(c) The application and documentation requirements of this subpart are required by law as a prerequisite to obtaining a benefit under the EAJA and this subpart.

[56 FR 37767, Aug. 8, 1991; 57 FR 523, Jan. 7, 1992, as amended at 75 FR 34622, June 18, 2010]

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§747.607   Statement of net worth.

(a) Each applicant (other than a qualified tax-exempt organization or cooperative association) must provide a detailed statement showing the net worth of the applicant and any affiliates, as defined in §747.602(a), when the proceeding was initiated. 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 is an eligible party. The administrative law judge or the NCUA Board may require additional information from the applicant to determine eligibility. Unless otherwise ordered by the Board or required by law, the statement shall be kept confidential and used by the NCUA Board only in making its determination of an award.

(b) If the applicant or any of its affiliates is a Federal credit union, the portion of the statement of net worth which relates to the Federal credit union shall consist of a copy of the Federal credit union's last Statement of Financial Condition filed before the initiation of the underlying proceeding.

(c) All statements of net worth shall describe any transfers of assets from or obligations incurred by the applicant or any affiliate, occurring in the six-month period prior to the date on which the proceeding was initiated, which reduced the net worth of the applicant and its affiliates below the applicable net-worth ceiling. If there were none, the applicant shall so state.

[56 FR 37767, Aug. 8, 1991, as amended at 75 FR 34622, June 18, 2010]

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§747.608   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, audit, 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 or the NCUA Board may require the applicant to provide vouchers, receipts, or other substantiation for any expenses claimed.

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§747.609   Filing and service of applications.

(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, but in no case later than 30 days after the Board's final disposition of the proceeding.

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

(c) As used in this subpart, final disposition means the issuance of a final order or any other final resolution of a proceeding, such as a settlement or voluntary dismissal.

(d) Any application for an award of fees and expenses shall be filed with the Secretary of the Board, National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-3428. Any application for an award and any 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 §747.607(a) for statements of net worth.

[56 FR 37767, Aug. 8, 1991, as amended at 59 FR 36041, July 15, 1994]

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§747.610   Answer to application.

(a) Within 30 days after service of an application, counsel for NCUA may file an answer to the application. Unless counsel for NCUA requests and is granted 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 will be treated as a consent to the award requested.

(b) If counsel for NCUA 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 NCUA Board upon the joint request of counsel for NCUA 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 counsel's position. If the answer is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, counsel shall include with the answer a request for further proceedings under §747.613.

(d)(1) The applicant may file a reply if counsel for NCUA has addressed in his or her answer any of the following issues:

(i) That the position of NCUA in the proceeding was substantially justified;

(ii) That the applicant unduly protracted the proceedings; or

(iii) That special circumstances make an award unjust.

(2) The reply shall be filed within 15 days after service of the answer. If the reply is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, the applicant shall include with the reply a request for further proceedings under §747.613.

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§747.611   Comments by other parties.

Any party to a proceeding other than the applicant and counsel for NCUA may file comments on an application within 30 days after service of the application or on an answer within 15 days after service of the answer. A commenting party may not participate further in proceedings on the application unless the administrative law judge or the NCUA Board determines that the public interest requires such participation in order to permit full exploration of matters raised in the comments.

[56 FR 37767, Aug. 8, 1991, as amended at 75 FR 34622, June 18, 2010]

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§747.612   Settlement.

The applicant and counsel for NCUA 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, in accordance with NCUA's standard settlement procedure. If a prevailing party and counsel for NCUA agree on a proposed settlement of an award before an application has been filed, the application shall be filed with the proposed settlement.

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§747.613   Further proceedings.

(a) After the expiration of the time allowed for the filing of all documents necessary for the determination of a recommended fee award, the NCUA Board shall transmit the entire record to the administrative law judge who presided at the underlying proceeding. Ordinarily, the determination of an award will be made on the basis of the written record. However, on request of either the applicant or counsel for NCUA, or on its own initiative, the administrative law judge or the NCUA Board 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 or the NCUA Board 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.

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§747.614   Recommended decision.

The administrative law judge shall file a recommended decision on the application with the NCUA Board within 60 days after completion of the proceedings on the application. The recommended decision shall include written findings and conclusions on the applicant's eligibility and status as a prevailing party, and an explanation of the reasons for any difference between the amount requested and the amount awarded. The recommended decision shall also include, if at issue, findings on whether NCUA's position was substantially justified, whether the applicant unduly protracted the proceedings, or whether special circumstances make an award unjust. If the applicant has sought an award against more than one agency, the recommended decision shall allocate responsibility for payment of any award made among the agencies, and shall explain the reasons for the allocation made. The administrative law judge shall file with and certify to the NCUA Board the record of the proceeding on the fee application, the recommended decision and proposed order. Promptly upon such filing, the NCUA Board shall serve upon each party to the proceeding a copy of the administrative law judge's recommended decision, findings, conclusions and proposed order. The provisions of this section and §747.613 shall not apply, however, in any case where the hearing was held before the NCUA Board.

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§747.615   Decision of the NCUA Board.

Within 15 days after service of the recommended decision, findings, conclusions, and proposed order, the applicant or counsel for NCUA may file with the NCUA Board written exceptions thereto. A supporting brief may also be filed. The NCUA Board shall render its decision within 60 days after the matter is submitted to it. The NCUA Board shall furnish copies of its decision and order to the parties. Judicial review of the NCUA Board's final decision and order may be obtained as provided in 5 U.S.C. 504(c)(2).

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§747.616   Payment of award.

An applicant seeking payment of an award granted by the NCUA Board shall submit to the NCUA's Office of Chief Financial Officer a copy of the NCUA Board's Final Decision and Order granting the award, accompanied by a statement that it will not seek review of the decision and order in the United States court. All submissions shall be addressed to the Office of Chief Financial Officer, National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-3428. The NCUA will pay the amount awarded within 60 days after receiving the applicant's statement, 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.

[56 FR 37767, Aug. 8, 1991, as amended at 59 FR 36041, July 15, 1994; 75 FR 34622, June 18, 2010]

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