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e-CFR data is current as of October 26, 2020

Title 16Chapter IISubchapter APart 1025 → Subpart H


Title 16: Commercial Practices
PART 1025—RULES OF PRACTICE FOR ADJUDICATIVE PROCEEDINGS


Subpart H—Implementation of the Equal Access to Justice Act in Adjudicative Proceedings With the Commission


Contents
§1025.70   General provisions.
§1025.71   Information required from applicant.
§1025.72   Procedures for considering applications.
Appendix I to Part 1025—Suggested Form of Final Prehearing Order

Authority: Equal Access to Justice Act, Pub. L. 96-481, 94 Stat. 2325, 5 U.S.C. 504 and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.

Source: 47 FR 25513, June 14, 1982, unless otherwise noted.

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§1025.70   General provisions.

(a) Purpose of this rule. The Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. 504 (called “the EAJA” in this subpart), provides for the award of attorney fees and other expenses to eligible persons who are parties to certain adversary adjudicative proceedings before the Commission. An eligible party may receive an award when it prevails over Commission complaint counsel, unless complaint counsel's position in the proceeding was substantially justified or special circumstances make an award unjust. This subpart describes the parties eligible for awards and the proceedings covered. The rules also explain how to apply for awards and the procedures and standards that the Commission will use to make them.

(b) When the EAJA applies. The EAJA applies to any adversary adjudicative proceeding pending before the Commission at any time between October 1, 1981 and September 30, 1984. This includes proceedings commenced before October 1, 1981, if final Commission action has not been taken before that date, and proceedings pending on September 30, 1984, regardless of when they were initiated or when final Commission action occurs.

(c) Proceedings covered. (1) The EAJA and this rule apply to adversary adjudicative proceedings conducted by the Commission. These are adjudications under 5 U.S.C. 554 in which the position of the Commission or any component of the Commission is represented by an attorney or other representative who enters an appearance and participates in the proceeding. The rules in this subpart govern adversary adjudicative proceedings relating to the provisions of sections 15 (c), (d) and (f) and 17(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2064 (c) (d) and (f); 2066(b)), sections 3 and 8(b) of the Flammable Fabrics Act (15 U.S.C. 1192, 1197(b)), and section 15 of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (15 U.S.C. 1274), which are required by statute to be determined on the record after opportunity for a public hearing. These rules will also govern administrative adjudicative proceedings for the assessment of civil penalties under section 20(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2068(a)). See 16 CFR 1025.1.

(2) The Commission may designate a proceeding not listed in paragraph (c)(1) of this section as an adversary adjudicative proceeding for purposes of the EAJA by so stating in an order initiating the proceeding or designating the matter for hearing. The Commission's failure to designate a proceeding as an adversary adjudicative proceeding shall not preclude the filing of an application by a party who believes the proceeding is covered by the EAJA. Whether the proceeding is covered will then be an issue for resolution in proceedings on the application.

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

(d) Eligibility of applicants. (1) To be eligible for an award of attorney fees and other expenses under the EAJA, 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. 551(3) and 16 CFR 1025.3(f). The applicant must show that it meets all conditions of eligibility set out in this paragraph and in §1025.71.

(2) The types of eligible applicants are:

(i) Individuals with a net worth of not more than $1 million;

(ii) Sole owners of unincorporated businesses who have a net worth of not more than $5 million including both personal and business interests, and not more than 500 employees;

(iii) Charitable or other tax-exempt organizations described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) which have not more than 500 employees;

(iv) Any other partnership, corporation, association, or public or private organization with a net worth of not more than $5 million and which have not more than 500 employees.

(3) 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.

(4) An applicant who owns an unincorporated business will be considered as an “individual” rather than as 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.

(5) The number of 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.

(6) The net worth and number of employees of the applicant and all of its affiliates shall be aggregated to determine eligibility. For this purpose, affiliate means (i) An 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 (ii) Any corporation or other entity of which the applicant directly or indirectly owns or controls a majority of the voting shares or other interest. However, the presiding officer may determine 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 presiding 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.

(7) 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.

(8) An applicant that represents himself/herself regardless of whether he is licensed to practice law may be awarded all such expenses and fees available to other prevailing eligible parties. See 16 CFR 1025.61 and 1025.65 of the Commission's rules.

(e) Standards for awards. (1) An eligible prevailing applicant 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, unless the position of Commission complaint counsel over which the applicant has prevailed was substantially justified. Complaint counsel bear the burden of proof that an award should not be made to an eligible prevailing applicant. Complaint counsel may avoid the granting of an award by showing that its position was reasonable in law and fact.

(2) 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.

(f) Allowable fees and expenses. (1) 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.

(2) No award for the fee of an attorney or agent under these rules may exceed $75 per hour. No award to compensate an expert witness may exceed the highest rate at which the Commission is authorized 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.

(3) In determining the reasonableness of the fee sought for an attorney, agent or expert witness, the presiding officer shall consider the following:

(i) 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;

(ii) The prevailing rate for similar services in the community in which the attorney, agent or witness ordinarily performs services;

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

(iv) The time reasonably spent in light of the difficulty or complexity of the issues in the proceeding; and

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

(4) 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.

(5) Fees may be awarded to eligible applicants only for service performed after the issuance of a complaint and the commencement of the adjudicative proceeding in accordance with 16 CFR 1025.11(a).

(g) Rulemaking on maximum rates for attorney fees. (1) If warranted by an increase in the cost of living or by special circumstances, the Commission may adopt regulations providing that attorney fees may be awarded at a rate higher than $75 per hour in some or all of the types of proceedings covered by this subpart. The Commission will conduct any rulemaking proceedings for this purpose under the informal rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 533.

(2) Any person may file with the Commission a petition for rulemaking to increase the maximum rate for attorney fees, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553(e). The petition should identify the rate the petitioner believes the Commission should establish and the types of proceedings in which the rate should be used. The petition should also explain fully the reasons why the higher rate is warranted. The Commission will respond to the petition within a reasonable time after it is filed, by initiating a rulemaking proceeding, denying the petition, or taking other appropriate action.

(h) Presiding officer. The presiding oficer in a proceeding covered by this regulation is a person as defined in the Commission's Rules, 16 CFR 1025.3(i), who conducts an adversary adjudicative proceeding.

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§1025.71   Information required from applicant.

(a) Contents of application. (1) An application for an award of fees and expenses under the EAJA 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 complaint counsel in the adjudicative 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.

(2) The application shall also include a verified statement that the applicant's net worth does not exceed $1 million (if an individual) or $5 million (for all other applicants, including their affiliates). However, an applicant may omit this statement if 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 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.

(3) The application shall state the amount of fees and expenses for which an award is sought.

(4) The application may also include any other matters that the applicant wishes the Commission to consider in determining whether and in what amount an award should be made.

(5) 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.

(b) Net worth exhibit; confidential treatment. (1) 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 (as defined in §1025.70(d)(6) of this subpart) 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 qualifies under the standards in this subpart. The presiding officer may require an applicant to file additional information to determine its eligibility for an award.

(2) Ordinarily, the net worth exhibit will be included in the public record of the proceeding. However, an applicant that objects to public disclosure of information in any portion of the exhibit or to public disclosure of any other information submitted, and believes there are legal grounds for withholding it from disclosure, may move to have that information kept confidential and excluded from public disclosure in accordance with §1025.45 of the Commission rules for in camera materials, 16 CFR 1025.45. This motion shall describe the information sought to be withheld and explain, in detail, why it falls within one or more of the specific exemptions from mandatory disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1)-(9).

(3) Section 6(a)(2) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 2055(a)(2), provides that certain information which contains or relates to a trade secret or other matter referred to in section 1905 of title 18, United States Code, or subject to 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4) shall not be disclosed. This prohibition is an Exemption 3 statute under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(3). Material submitted as part of an application for which in camera treatment is granted shall be available to other parties only in accordance with 16 CFR 1025.45(c) of the Commission Rules and, if applicable, section 6(a)(2) of the CPSA. If the presiding officer determines that the information should not be withheld from disclosure because it does not fall within section 6(a)(2) of the CPSA, he shall place the information in the public record but only after notifying the submitter of the information in writing of the intention to disclose such document at a date not less than 10 days after the date of receipt of notification. Otherwise, any request to inspect or copy the exhibit shall be disposed of in accordance with the Commission's established procedures under the Freedom of Information Act (see 16 CFR part 1015).

(c) 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 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 presiding officer may require the applicant to provide vouchers, receipts; or other substantiation for any expenses claimed.

(d) When an application may be filed. (1) An application may be filed whenever the applicant has prevailed in a proceeding covered by this subpart or in a significant and discrete substantive portion of the proceeding. However, an application must be filed no later than 30 days after the Commission's final disposition of such a proceeding.

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

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

(4) For purposes of this subpart, final disposition means the later of:

(i) The date on which an initial decision by the presiding officer becomes final, see 16 CFR 1025.52;

(ii) The date on which the Commission issues a final decision (See 16 CFR 1025.55);

(iii) The date on which the Commission issues an order disposing of any petitions for reconsideration of the Commission's final order in the proceeding (See 16 CFR 1025.56; or

(iv) 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.

(e) Where an application must be filed. The application for award and expenses must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207 in accordance with the application requirements of this section.

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§1025.72   Procedures for considering applications.

(a) 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 provided in the Commission's Rules of Practice, 16 CFR 1025.11-1025.19.

(b) Answer to application. (1) Within 30 days after service of an application for an award of fees and expenses, complaint counsel in the underlying administrative proceeding upon which the application is based may file an answer to the application. Unless complaint counsel requests an extension of time for filing or files a statement of intent to negotiate under paragraph (b)(2) of this section, failure to file an answer within the 30-day period may be treated as a consent to the award requested.

(2) If complaint 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 presiding officer upon request by complaint counsel and the applicant.

(3) The answer shall explain in detail any objections to the award requested and identify the facts relied on in support of Commission counsel's position. If the answer is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, complaint counsel shall include with the answer either supporting affidavits or a request for further proceedings under paragraph (f) of this section.

(c) 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 paragraph (f) of this section.

(d) Comments by other parties. Any party to a proceeding other than the applicant and complaint 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 presiding officer determines that the public interest requires such participation in order to permit full exploration of matters raised in the comments.

(e) Settlement. The applicant and complaint 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, in accordance with the Commission's standard settlement procedure (See 16 CFR 1115.20(b), 1118.20, 1025.26, and 1605.3). If a prevailing party and complaint counsel agree on a proposed settlement of an award before an application has been filed, the application shall be filed with the proposed settlement.

(f) Further proceedings. (1) Ordinarily, the determination of an award will be made on the basis of the written record. However, on request of either the applicant or complaint counsel, or on his or her own initiative, the presiding officer may order further proceedings. 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.

(2) A request that the presiding officer order further proceedings under this paragraph shall specifically identify the information sought or the disputed issues and shall explain why the additional proceedings are necessary to resolve the issues.

(g) Initial decision. The presiding officer shall endeavor to issue an initial decision on the application within 30 days after completion of proceedings on the application. The 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 decision shall also include, if at issue, findings on whether the complaint counsel'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 decision of this Commission will only address the allocable portion for which this Commission is responsible to the eligible prevailing party.

(h) Agency review. (1) Either the applicant or complaint counsel may seek review of the initial decision on the fee application, or the Commission may decide to review the decision on its own initiative, in accordance with 16 CFR 1025.54, 1025.55 and 1025.56.

(2) If neither the applicant nor Commission complaint counsel seeks review and the Commission does not take review on its own initiative, the initial decision on the application shall become a final decision of the Commission 30 days after it is issued.

(3) If an appeal from or review of an initial decision under this subpart is taken, the Commission shall endeavor to issue a decision on the application within 90 days after the filing of all briefs or after receipt of transcripts of the oral argument, whichever is later, or remand the application to the presiding officer for further proceedings.

(i) Judicial review. Judicial review of final Commission decisions on awards may be sought as provided in 5 U.S.C. 504(c)(2).

(j) Payment of award. An applicant seeking payment of an award shall submit to the Secretary of the Commission a copy of the Commission's final decision granting the award, accompanied by a verified statement that the applicant will not seek review of the decision in the United States courts. (Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207.) The Commission 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. Comments and accompanying material may be seen in or copies obtained from the Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207, during working hours Monday through Friday.

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Appendix I to Part 1025—Suggested Form of Final Prehearing Order

Case Caption

A final prehearing conference was held in this matter, pursuant to Rule 21 of the Commission's Rules of Practice for Adjudicative Proceedings (16 CFR 1025.21), on the ______ day of ______, 19__, at __ o'clock, _ stm.

Counsel appeared as follows:

For the Commission staff:

For the Respondent(s):

Others:

1. Nature of Action and Jurisdiction. This is an action for __________ and the jurisdiction of the Commission is invoked under United States Code, Title______, Section ______ and under the Code of Federal Regulations, Title ____, Section ____. The jurisdiction of the Commission is (not) disputed. The question of jurisdiction was decided as follows:

2. Stipulations and Statements. The following stipulation(s) and statement(s) were submitted, attached to, and made a part of this order:

(a) A comprehensive written stipulation or statement of all uncontested facts;

(b) A concise summary of the ultimate facts as claimed by each party. (Complaint Counsel must set forth the claimed facts, specifically; for example, if a violation is claimed, Complaint Counsel must assert specifically the acts of violation complained of; each respondent must reply with equal clarity and detail.)

(c) Written stipulation(s) or statement(s) setting forth the qualifications of the expert witnesses to be called by each party;

(d) Written list(s) of the witnesses whom each party will call, written list(s) of the additional witnesses whom each party may call, and a statement of the subject matter on which each witness will testify;

(e) An agreed statement of the contested issues of fact and of law, or separate statements by each party of any contested issues of fact and law not agreed to;

(f) A list of all depositions to be read into evidence and statements of any objections thereto;

(g) A list and brief description of any charts, graphs, models, schematic diagrams, and similar objects that will be used in opening statements or closing arguments but will not be offered in evidence. If any other such objects are to be used by any party, those objects will be submitted to opposing counsel at least three days prior to the hearing. If there is then any objection to their use, the dispute will be submitted to the Presiding Officer at least one day prior to the hearing;

(h) Written waivers of claims or defenses which have been abandoned by the parties.

The foregoing were modified at the pretrial conference as follows:

(To be completed at the conference itself. If none, recite “none”.)

3. Complaint Counsel's Evidence. 3.1 The following exhibits were offered by Complaint Counsel, received in evidence, and marked as follows:

(Identification number and brief description of each exhibit)

The authenticity of these exhibits has been stipulated.

3.2 The following exhibits were offered by Complaint Counsel and marked for identification. There was reserved to the respondent(s) (and party intervenors) the right to object to their receipt in evidence on the grounds stated:

(Identification number and brief description of each exhibit. State briefly ground of objection, e.g., competency, relevancy, materiality)

4. Respondent's Evidence. 4.1 The following exhibits were offered by the respondent(s), received in evidence, and marked as herein indicated:

(Identification number and brief description of each exhibit)

The authenticity of these exhibits has been stipulated.

4.2 The following exhibits were offered by the respondent(s) and marked for identification. There was reserved to Complaint Counsel (and party intervenors) the right to object to their receipt in evidence on the grounds stated:

(Identification number and brief description of each exhibit. State briefly ground of objection, e.g., competency, relevancy, materiality)

5. Party Intervenor's Evidence. 5.1 The following exhibits were offered by the party intervenor(s), received in evidence, and marked as herein indicated:

(Identification number and brief description of each exhibit)

The authenticity of these exhibits has been stipulated.

5.2   The following exhibits were offered by the party intervenor(s) and marked for identification. There was reserved to Complaint Counsel and respondent(s) the right to object to their receipt in evidence on the grounds stated:

(Identification number and brief description of each exhibit. State briefly ground of objection, e.g., competency, relevancy, materiality)

Note: If any other exhibits are to be offered by any party, such exhibits will be submitted to opposing counsel at least ten (10) days prior to hearing, and a supplemental note of evidence filed into this record.

6. Additional Actions. The following additional action(s) were taken:

(Amendments to pleadings, agreements of the parties, disposition of motions, separation of issues of liability and remedy, etc., if necessary)

7. Limitations and Reservations. 7.1 Each of the parties has the right to further supplement the list of witnesses not later than ten (10) days prior to commencement of the hearing by furnishing opposing counsel with the name and address of the witness and general subject matter of his/her testimony and by filing a supplement to this pretrial order. Thereafter, additional witnesses may be added only after application to the Presiding Officer, for good cause shown.

7.2   Rebuttal witnesses not listed in the exhibits to this order may be called only if the necessity of their testimony could not reasonably be foreseen ten (10) days prior to trial. If it appears to counsel at any time before trial that such rebuttal witnesses will be called, notice will immediately be given to opposing counsel and the Presiding Officer.

7.3   The probable length of hearing is __ days. The hearing will commence on the ______ day of ______, 19__, at __ o'clock _ m. at ____.

7.4   Prehearing briefs will be filed not later than 5:00 p.m. on __________ (Insert date not later than ten (10) days prior to the hearing.) All anticipated legal questions, including those relating to the admissibility of evidence, must be covered by prehearing briefs.

This prehearing order has been formulated after a conference at which counsel for the respective parties appeared. Reasonable opportunity has been afforded counsel for corrections or additions prior to signing. It will control the course of the hearing, and it may not be amended except by consent of the parties and the Presiding Officer, or by order of the Presiding Officer to prevent manifest injustice.

 

Presiding Officer.

Dated:

Approved as to Form and Substance

Date:
 

Complaint Counsel.

 

Attorney for Respondent(s)

 

*Attorney for Intervenors

*Note: Where intervenors appear pursuant to §1025.17 of these Rules, the prehearing order may be suitably modified; the initial page may be modified to reflect the intervention.

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