I-4-1-15.Analyst Review - Court Case Preparation and Review Branch

Last Update: 10/9/20 (Transmittal I-4-81)

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 recording(s) are missing or inaudible;

  • File(s) or exhibit(s) are missing;

  • Additional evidence was submitted on or before the date of the Appeals Council's (AC) last action that was not part of the administrative record;

  • New correspondence was received on or before the date of the AC's last action;

  • A congressional or other public inquiry is received;

  • Exhibit(s) or evidence that do not relate to the claimant is found in the file(s) (see Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-4-2-20 D); or

  • A declaration is required, other than an untimely filed declaration (see HALLEX I-4-3-5).

B. Missing or Inaudible Hearing Recordings

If a hearing recording is certified as missing (see HALLEX I-3-1-23), 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 add a remark in the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS) noting that the analyst reviewed the inaudible portions and that those portions do not preclude defense of the case, and instruct the court records assistant (CRA) to prepare a certified administrative record (CAR).

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 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 is not defensible, 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 chief will determine whether there are missing exhibits and identify any missing exhibits in the certification. See HALLEX I-4-2-30.

D. Additional Evidence

While preparing a CAR, the staff may discover additional evidence either in the file or in newly associated correspondence that the AC has not yet considered. In such instances, the staff will assign the case to an analyst to review the additional evidence.

If the AC received the additional evidence or newly associated correspondence after the AC denied the request for review, dismissed the request for review, or issued a decision, the analyst should recommend that OGC defend the case. The analyst will prepare an analysis in ARPS and memorandum to OGC fully addressing the evidence and explaining that the AC received it after the AC's last action so it will not be included in the CAR. The analyst should submit the recommendation for an administrative appeals judge's (AAJ) consideration. Following the AAJ's approval, the analyst will send the memorandum with a copy of the evidence or correspondence when sending a memorandum to OGC for paper claim(s) files. For electronic claim(s) files, the analyst will note in the memorandum that the additional evidence is available in eView.

If the evidence was submitted on or before the date of the AC's last action, the analyst may determine that the additional evidence or other materials are duplicate of documents contained in the claim(s) file or CAR. If determined to be duplicate(s), the analyst must annotate the evidence as duplicate and return the claim(s) file or CAR to the CCPRB support staff. No further evaluation of the record is necessary and the analyst should not prepare a memorandum to OGC. However, if the claimant or the claimant's counsel submitted duplicate evidence directly to the AC in connection with a request for further consideration of the record, the analyst must prepare a memorandum to OGC identifying the evidence and asking OGC to defend the case because the duplicate evidence was previously in the record and no change is warranted in the hearing decision.

If the additional evidence submitted on or before the date of the AC's last action is not a duplicate of documents already contained in the claim(s) file or CAR, the analyst will consider the additional evidence and follow the procedures set forth in HALLEX I-4-4-25.