16 CFR § 2.9 - Rights of witnesses in investigations.

prev | next
§ 2.9 Rights of witnesses in investigations.

(a) Any person compelled to submit data to the Commission or to testify in a deposition or investigational hearing shall be entitled to retain a copy or, on payment of lawfully prescribed costs, procure a copy of any document submitted, and of any testimony as stenographically recorded, except that in a nonpublic hearing the witness may for good cause be limited to inspection of the official transcript of the testimony. Upon completion of transcription of the testimony, the witness shall be offered an opportunity to read the transcript. Any changes by the witness shall be entered and identified upon the transcript by the hearing official, together with a statement of the reasons given by the witness for requesting such changes. After the changes are entered, the transcript shall be signed by the witness unless the witness cannot be found, is ill and unavailable, waives in writing his or her right to sign, or refuses to sign. If the transcript is not signed by the witness within 30 days of having been afforded a reasonable opportunity to review it, the hearing official shall sign the transcript and state on the hearing record the fact of the waiver, illness, absence of the witness, or the refusal to sign, together with any reasons given for the failure to sign, as prescribed by section 20(c)(14)(E)(ii) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

(b) Any witness compelled to appear in person in a deposition or investigational hearing may be accompanied, represented, and advised by counsel, as follows:

(1) In depositions or investigational hearings conducted pursuant to section 9 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, counsel may not consult with the witness while a question directed to a witness is pending, except with respect to issues involving protected status.

(2) Any objection during a deposition or investigational hearing shall be stated concisely on the hearing record in a nonargumentative and nonsuggestive manner. Neither the witness nor counsel shall otherwise object or refuse to answer any question. Following an objection, the examination shall proceed and the testimony shall be taken, except for testimony requiring the witness to divulge information protected by the claim of protected status. Counsel may instruct a witness not to answer only when necessary to preserve a claim of protected status.

(3) The hearing official may elect to recess the deposition or investigational hearing and reconvene the deposition or hearing at a later date to continue a course of inquiry interrupted by any objection made under paragraph (b)(1) or (2) of this section. The hearing official shall provide written notice of the date of the reconvened deposition or hearing to the witness, which may be in the form of an email or facsimile. Failure to reappear or to file a petition to limit or quash in accordance with § 2.10 of this part shall constitute noncompliance with Commission compulsory process for the purposes of a Commission enforcement action under § 2.13 of this part.

(4) In depositions or investigational hearings, immediately following the examination of a witness by the hearing official, the witness or his or her counsel may on the hearing record request that the hearing official permit the witness to clarify any answers. The grant or denial of such request shall be within the discretion of the hearing official and would ordinarily be granted except for good cause stated and explained on the hearing record, and with an opportunity for counsel to undertake to correct the expressed concerns of the hearing official or otherwise to reply.

(5) The hearing official shall conduct the deposition or investigational hearing in a manner that avoids unnecessary delay, and prevents and restrains disorderly or obstructionist conduct. The hearing official shall, where appropriate, report pursuant to § 4.1(e) of this chapter any instance where an attorney, in the course of the deposition or hearing, has allegedly refused to comply with his or her directions, or has allegedly engaged in conduct addressed in § 4.1(e). The Commission may take any action as circumstances may warrant under § 4.1(e) of this chapter.

[77 FR 59307, Sept. 27, 2012]