(a)Convening. The Commission or other decisional authority, upon motion or otherwise, may convene a conference of the participants in a proceeding at any time for any purpose related to the conduct or disposition of the proceeding, including submission and consideration of offers of settlement or the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures.
(1) The participants in a proceeding must be given due notice of the time and place of a conference under paragraph (a) of this section and of the matters to be addressed at the conference. Participants attending the conference must be prepared to discuss the matters to be addressed at the conference, unless there is good cause for a failure to be prepared.
(2) Any person appearing at the conference in a representative capacity must be authorized to act on behalf of that person's principal with respect to matters to be addressed at the conference.
(3) If any party fails to attend the conference such failure will constitute a waiver of all objections to any order or ruling arising out of, or any agreement reached at, the conference.
(c)Powers of decisional authority at conference.
(1) The decisional authority, before which the conference is held or to which the conference reports, may dispose, during a conference, of any procedural matter on which the decisional authority is authorized to rule and which may appropriately and usefully be disposed of at that time.
(2) If, in a proceeding set for hearing under subpart E, the presiding officer determines that the proceeding would be substantially expedited by distribution of proposed exhibits, including written prepared testimony and other documents, reasonably in advance of the hearing session, the presiding officer may, with due regard for the convenience of the participants, direct advance distribution of the exhibits by a prescribed date. The presiding officer may also direct the preparation and distribution of any briefs and other documents which the presiding officer determines will substantially expedite the proceeding.