17 CFR § 12.314 - Initial decision.
(a) In general. The Administrative Law Judge as soon as practicable after the parties have completed their submissions of proof, or after the conclusion of an oral hearing if one is held, shall render the initial decision, which he shall forthwith file with the Proceedings Clerk, and a copy of which shall be served immediately by the Proceedings Clerk upon each of the parties. The Proceedings Clerk shall also serve a notice, to accompany the initial decision, of the effect of a party's failure timely to appeal to the Commission the initial decision, as provided in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, and the effect of a failure of a party who has been ordered to pay a reparation award timely to file the documents required by § 12.407(c).
(b) Content of initial decision. In the initial decision the Administrative Law Judge shall:
(1) Include a brief statement of his findings as to the facts, with references to those portions of the record which support his findings;
(4) Determine the amount of damages, if any, that the complainant has sustained as a result of respondent's violations, the amount of punitive damages if warranted, and the amount, if any, for which complainant is liable to a respondent based on a counterclaim; and
(5) Include an order directing either the respondent or the complainant, depending upon whose liability is greater, to pay an amount based on the difference in the amounts determined pursuant to paragraph (b)(4) of this section, on or before a date fixed in the order.
(c) Costs, prejudgment interest. Except as provided in §§ 12.30(c) and 12.315 of these rules, the Administrative Law Judge may, in the initial decision, award costs (including the cost of instituting the proceeding and, if appropriate, reasonable attorney's fees) and, if warranted as a matter of law under the cirumstances of the particular case, prejudgment interest, to the party in whose favor a judgment is entered.
(d) Effect of initial decision. The initial decision and order shall become the final decision and order of the Commission, without further order by the Commission, thirty (30) days after service thereof, except that:
(1) The initial decision shall not become the final decision as to a party who shall have timely filed and perfected an appeal thereof to the Commission, in accordance with § 12.401 of these rules; and
(2) The initial decision shall not become final as to any party to the proceeding if, within thirty (30) days after service of the initial decision, the Commission itself shall have placed the case on its own docket for review or stayed the effective date of the initial decision.
(e) Effect of failure to file and perfect an appeal to the Commission. Unless the Commission takes review of an initial decision on its own motion, the timely filing and perfection of an appeal to the Commission of the initial decision is mandatory as a prerequisite to appellate judicial review of a final decision and order entered pursuant to these rules.