17 CFR § 201.161 - Extensions of time, postponements and adjournments.

§ 201.161 Extensions of time, postponements and adjournments.

(a)Availability. Except as otherwise provided by law, the Commission, at any time, or the hearing officer, at any time prior to the filing of his or her initial decision or, if no initial decision is to be filed, at any time prior to the closing of the record, may, for good cause shown, extend or shorten any time limits prescribed by these Rules of Practice for the filing of any papers and may, consistent with paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, postpone or adjourn any hearing.

(b)Considerations in determining whether to extend time limits or grant postponements, adjournments and extensions.

(1) In considering all motions or requests pursuant to paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, the Commission or the hearing officer should adhere to a policy of strongly disfavoring such requests, except in circumstances where the requesting party makes a strong showing that the denial of the request or motion would substantially prejudice their case. In determining whether to grant any requests, the Commission or hearing officer shall consider, in addition to any other relevant factors:

(i) The length of the proceeding to date;

(ii) The number of postponements, adjournments or extensions already granted;

(iii) The stage of the proceedings at the time of the request;

(iv) The impact of the request on the hearing officer's ability to complete the proceeding in the time specified by the Commission; and

(v) Any other such matters as justice may require.

(2) To the extent that the Commission has chosen a timeline under which the hearing would occur beyond the statutory 60-day deadline, this policy of strongly disfavoring requests for postponement will not apply to a request by a respondent to postpone commencement of a cease and desist proceeding hearing beyond the statutory 60-day period.

(c)

(1)Time limit. Postponements, adjournments or extensions of time for filing papers shall not exceed 21 days unless the Commission or the hearing officer states on the record or sets forth in a written order the reasons why a longer period of time is necessary.

(2)Stay pending Commission consideration of offers of settlement.

(i) If the Commission staff and one or more respondents in the proceeding file a joint motion notifying the hearing officer that they have agreed in principle to a settlement on all major terms, then the hearing officer shall stay the proceeding as to the settling respondent(s), or in the discretion of the hearing officer as to all respondents, pending completion of Commission consideration of the settlement offer. Any such stay will be contingent upon:

(A) The settling respondent(s) submitting to the Commission staff, within fifteen business days of the stay, a signed offer of settlement in conformance with § 201.240; and

(B) Within twenty business days of receipt of the signed offer, the staff submitting the settlement offer and accompanying recommendation to the Commission for consideration.

(ii) If the parties fail to meet either of these deadlines or if the Commission rejects the offer of settlement, the hearing officer must be promptly notified and, upon notification of the hearing officer, the stay shall lapse and the proceeding will continue. In the circumstance where:

(A) A hearing officer has granted a stay because the parties have “agreed in principle to a settlement;”

(B) The agreement in principle does not materialize into a signed settlement offer within 15 business days of the stay; and

(C) The stay lapses, the hearing officer will not be required to grant another stay related to the settlement process until both parties have notified the hearing officer in writing that a signed settlement offer has been prepared, received by the Commission's staff, and will be submitted to the Commission.

(iii) The granting of any stay pursuant to this paragraph (c) shall stay the timeline pursuant to § 201.360(a).

[60 FR 32796, June 23, 1995, as amended at 68 FR 35788, June 17, 2003; 81 FR 50234, July 29, 2016]