(a) Holding the hearing. If the General Counsel or other delegated official does not take action to withdraw the charges within 15 days after the date on which the representative filed an answer, we will hold a hearing and make a decision on the charges.
(b) Hearing officer. (1) The Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Hearings Operations or other delegated official will assign an administrative law judge, designated to act as a hearing officer, to hold a hearing on the charges.
(3) If the representative or any party to the hearing objects to the hearing officer who has been named to hold the hearing, we must be notified at the earliest opportunity. The hearing officer shall consider the objection(s) and either proceed with the hearing or withdraw from it.
(5) If the hearing officer does not withdraw, the representative or any other person objecting may, after the hearing, present his or her objections to the Appeals Council explaining why he or she believes the hearing officer's decision should be revised or a new hearing held by another administrative law judge designated to act as a hearing officer.
(c) Time and place of hearing. The hearing officer will mail the parties a written notice of the hearing at their last known addresses, at least 14 calendar days before the date set for the hearing. The notice will inform the parties whether the appearance of the parties or any witnesses will be in person, by video teleconferencing, or by telephone. The notice will also include requirements and instructions for filing motions, requesting witnesses, and entering exhibits.
(d) Change of time and place for hearing. (1) The hearing officer may change the time and place for the hearing, either on his or her own initiative, or at the request of the representative or the other party to the hearing. The hearing officer will not consider objections to the manner of appearance of parties or witnesses, unless the party shows good cause not to appear in the prescribed manner. To determine whether good cause exists for extending the deadline, we use the standards explained in § 404.911.
(3) Subject to the limitations in paragraph (g)(2) of this section, the hearing officer may reopen the hearing for the receipt of additional evidence at any time before mailing notice of the decision.
(4) The hearing officer shall give the representative and the other party to the hearing reasonable notice of any change in the time or place for the hearing, or of an adjournment or reopening of the hearing.
(f) Subpoenas. (1) The representative or the other party to the hearing may request the hearing officer to issue a subpoena for the attendance and testimony of witnesses and for the production of books, records, correspondence, papers, or other documents that are material to any matter being considered at the hearing. The hearing officer may, on his or her own initiative, issue subpoenas for the same purposes when the action is reasonably necessary for the full presentation of the facts.
(2) The representative or the other party who wants a subpoena issued shall file a written request with the hearing officer. This must be done at least 5 days before the date set for the hearing. The request must name the documents to be produced, and describe the address or location in enough detail to permit the witnesses or documents to be found.
(3) The representative or the other party who wants a subpoena issued shall state in the request for a subpoena the material facts that he or she expects to establish by the witness or document, and why the facts could not be established by the use of other evidence which could be obtained without use of a subpoena.
(g) Conduct of the hearing. (1) The representative or the other party may file a motion for decision on the basis of the record prior to the hearing. The hearing officer will give the representative and the other party a reasonable amount of time to submit any evidence and to file briefs or other written statements as to fact and law prior to deciding the motion. If the hearing officer concludes that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a decision as a matter of law, the hearing officer may grant the motion and issue a decision in accordance with the provisions of § 404.1770.
(2) If the representative did not file an answer to the charges, he or she has no right to present evidence at the hearing. The hearing officer may make or recommend a decision on the basis of the record, or permit the representative to present a statement about the sufficiency of the evidence or the validity of the proceedings upon which the suspension or disqualification, if it occurred, would be based.
(3) The hearing officer will make the hearing open to the representative, to the other party, and to any persons the hearing officer or the parties consider necessary or proper. The hearing officer will inquire fully into the matters being considered, hear the testimony of witnesses, and accept any documents that are material.
(i) Witnesses. Witnesses who testify at the hearing shall do so under oath or affirmation. Either the representative or a person representing him or her may question the witnesses. The other party and that party's representative must also be allowed to question the witnesses. The hearing officer may also ask questions as considered necessary, and shall rule upon any objection made by either party about whether any question is proper.
(j) Oral and written summation. (1) The hearing officer shall give the representative and the other party a reasonable time to present oral summation and to file briefs or other written statements about proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law if the parties request it.
(l) Representation. The representative, as the person charged, may appear in person and may be represented by an attorney or other representative. The General Counsel or other delegated official will be represented by one or more attorneys from the Office of the General Counsel.
(m) Failure to appear. If the representative or the other party to the hearing fails to appear after being notified of the time and place, the hearing officer may hold the hearing anyway so that the party present may offer evidence to sustain or rebut the charges. The hearing officer shall give the party who failed to appear an opportunity to show good cause for failure to appear. If the party fails to show good cause, he or she is considered to have waived the right to be present at the hearing. If the party shows good cause, the hearing officer may hold a supplemental hearing.
(o) Cost of transcript. If the representative or the other party to a hearing requests a copy of the transcript of the hearing, the hearing officer will have it prepared and sent to the party upon payment of the cost, unless the payment is waived for good cause.
[45 FR 52090, Aug. 5, 1980, as amended at 56 FR 24131, 24132, May 29, 1991; 62 FR 38452, July 18, 1997; 63 FR 41417, Aug. 4, 1998; 71 FR 2877, Jan. 18, 2006; 76 FR 80246, Dec. 23, 2011; 83 FR 30856, July 2, 2018]