I-4-1-25.Analyst Review - Court Case Preparation and Review Branch

Last Update: 7/3/14 (Transmittal I-4-30)

A. General

In some instances, technical defects in the record require review by a Court Case Preparation and Review Branch (CCPRB) analyst. A case must be assigned to a CCPRB analyst in the following situations:

  • Hearing recordings are missing or inaudible;

  • Files or exhibits are missing;

  • Additional evidence was submitted that was not part of the administrative record;

  • New correspondence was received;

  • A congressional or other public inquiry is received;

  • Exhibits or evidence that does not relate to the claimant is found in the file (see Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-4-1-54 D); or

  • A declaration is required, other than an untimely filed declaration (see HALLEX I-4-1-31).

B. Missing or Inaudible Hearing Recordings

If a hearing recording is certified as missing (see HALLEX I-3-0-71), the CCPRB analyst will prepare a memorandum to the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) requesting remand for a de novo hearing.

Under HALLEX I-4-1-14, contracts staff may return a hearing recording that is inaudible.

  • When the hearing recording is alleged to be completely inaudible, the analyst will spot check the recording to verify the allegation. If the hearing recording is inaudible, the analyst will prepare a memorandum to OGC requesting remand for a de novo hearing.

  • If a portion of the hearing recording is inaudible, the analyst must determine whether the missing portion precludes defense of the case. If it does, the analyst will complete a memorandum to OGC requesting remand for a de novo hearing. However, if the inaudible portions do not preclude defense of the case, the analyst will note in the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS) that the inaudible portions were reviewed and do not preclude defense of the case, and a certified administrative record (CAR) should be prepared.

C. Missing Files or Exhibits

If the claim(s) file cannot be located, as explained in HALLEX I-4-1-12 B, a CCPRB analyst must note in any prepared remand order that the case is remanded “to locate or re-construct the record.”

When one or more exhibits are missing from the record, a court records assistant (CRA) will attempt to obtain the missing documents from the hearing office or, if applicable, the appointed representative at the administrative level. If the CRA cannot locate the documents, he or she will assign the case to an analyst to determine whether the missing exhibits preclude defense of the case.

  • If the analyst determines the case cannot be defended, he or she will explain the reasons in the ARPS analysis and recommend remand.

  • If the analyst concludes the missing exhibits do not preclude defense of case, he or she will note the reasons in the ARPS analysis and send the case to the CCPRB staff for preparation of the CAR.

NOTE:

Prior to certifying a record, the CCPRB branch chief will determine whether there are missing exhibits and identify any missing exhibits in the certification. See HALLEX I-4-1-56.

D. Additional Evidence

While preparing a CAR, the staff may discover additional evidence either in the file or in newly associated correspondence that the Appeals Council (AC) has not yet considered. The case must be assigned to an analyst to review the record in light of the additional evidence and determine the appropriate action.

  • If the analyst recommends remand, he or she will explain in the ARPS analysis the reason for the AC's review. If the AC agrees a remand is appropriate, the analyst takes all necessary actions, including notifying OGC that the AC would like to remand the case rather than proceed with the civil action.

  • If the analyst recommends another action, he or she will draft a letter for an administrative appeals judge's (AAJ) signature advising the claimant and his or her representative that the AC has considered the evidence and does not find that it provides a basis for remand. The analyst will also prepare an analysis for the AAJ's consideration. If the AAJ approves the letter, the analyst will advise OGC to defend the case, noting the additional evidence and the AC's letter to the claimant.

NOTE:

The AC's letter and the additional evidence are not added to the CAR, but the documents will be associated with the claim(s) file.