I-2-5-44.Action When Administrative Law Judge Receives Medical Expert's Responses to Interrogatories
Last Update: 1/21/20 (Transmittal I-2-232)
A. Proffer a Copy of Response
When an administrative law judge (ALJ) receives a medical expert's (ME) response to written interrogatories, the ALJ will proffer a copy of the responses using the procedures in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-2-7-30. See also Standard Hearings Operations Procedure (SHOP) section 5.1.9.
If the ME's responses are received post-hearing and the claimant waived the right to examine the evidence and appear at a supplemental hearing, see HALLEX I-2-7-35.
B. Respond to Objection or Other Request
An ALJ must rule on any objection or request by the claimant regarding the ME's response to interrogatories. The ALJ may rule on an objection on the record during the hearing or in a writing that the ALJ exhibits and associates with the record. An ALJ must allow the claimant or appointed representative to propose additional interrogatories to the ME or request a supplemental hearing to question the ME, even if the claimant or appointed representative previously had the opportunity to do so.
The ALJ decision must include the rationale for ruling against any objection. If the claimant requests a supplemental hearing, the ALJ must grant the request, unless the ALJ receives additional documentary evidence that supports a fully favorable decision. Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) management, through designated staff, will consider the information in HALLEX I-2-5-40 and I-2-3-10B.2 when determining how the ME will appear at a supplemental hearing.
C. Receipt of Additional Information After ME Responds to Interrogatories
When an ALJ receives new evidence after an ME has responded to interrogatories and it appears the additional evidence may affect the ME's responses, assisting hearing office staff will forward the new evidence to the ME for a revised response.
The ALJ or assisting staff will send revised interrogatories to the ME along with a letter explaining the request and the requested method of response. For a sample letter, see HALLEX I-2-5-96. The letter must clearly identify the claimant and indicate that the ME should respond within 10 calendar days. Assisting staff will add a copy of the letter to the E section of the claim(s) file and exhibit the letter.
Additionally, staff will send the following with the letter:
A copy of the new evidence;
Copies of documents the ME previously reviewed; and
The name and telephone number of a hearing office contact.
The ME's response to the revised interrogatories will be handled using the same procedures regarding proffer, responding to requests or objections, and exhibiting issues as otherwise set forth in this instruction.
D. Exhibit Response and Any Correspondence
The ALJ must include the response and any related correspondence in the record as exhibits. This includes all correspondence between the ALJ and the ME, admissible questions and responses, additional interrogatories and responses, and proffered documents. See HALLEX I-2-7-35.