29 CFR § 102.35 - Duties and powers of Administrative Law Judges; stipulations of cases to Administrative Law Judges or to the Board; assignment and powers of settlement judges.

§ 102.35 Duties and powers of Administrative Law Judges; stipulations of cases to Administrative Law Judges or to the Board; assignment and powers of settlement judges.

(a) The Administrative Law Judge will inquire fully into the facts as to whether the Respondent has engaged in or is engaging in an unfair labor practice affecting commerce as set forth in the complaint or amended complaint. The Administrative Law Judge has authority, with respect to cases assigned to the Judge, between the time the Judge is designated and transfer of the case to the Board, subject to the Rules and Regulations of the Board and within its powers, to:

(1) Administer oaths and affirmations.

(2) Grant applications for subpoenas.

(3) Rule upon petitions to revoke subpoenas.

(4) Rule upon offers of proof and receive relevant evidence.

(5) Take or cause depositions to be taken whenever the ends of justice would be served.

(6) Regulate the course of the hearing and, if appropriate or necessary, to exclude persons or counsel from the hearing for contemptuous conduct and to strike all related testimony of witnesses refusing to answer any proper question.

(7) Hold conferences for the settlement or simplification of the issues by consent of the parties, but not to adjust cases.

(8) Dispose of procedural requests, motions, or similar matters, including motions referred to the Administrative Law Judge by the Regional Director and motions for default judgment, summary judgment, or to amend pleadings; also to dismiss complaints or portions thereof; to order hearings reopened; and, upon motion, to order proceedings consolidated or severed prior to issuance of Administrative Law Judge decisions.

(9) Approve stipulations, including stipulations of facts that waive a hearing and provide for a decision by the Administrative Law Judge. Alternatively, the parties may agree to waive a hearing and decision by an Administrative Law Judge and submit directly to the Executive Secretary a stipulation of facts, which, if approved, provides for a decision by the Board. A statement of the issues presented may be set forth in the stipulation of facts, and each party may also submit a short statement (no more than three pages) of its position on the issues. If the Administrative Law Judge (or the Board) approves the stipulation, the Judge (or the Board) will set a time for the filing of briefs. In proceedings before an Administrative Law Judge, no further briefs may be filed except by special leave of the Judge. In proceedings before the Board, answering briefs may be filed within 14 days, or such further period as the Board may allow, from the last date on which an initial brief may be filed. No further briefs may be filed except by special leave of the Board. At the conclusion of the briefing schedule, the Administrative Law Judge (or the Board) will decide the case or otherwise dispose of it.

(10) Make and file decisions, including bench decisions delivered within 72 hours after conclusion of oral argument, in conformity with Public Law 89-554, 5 U.S.C. 557.

(11) Call, examine, and cross-examine witnesses and to introduce into the record documentary or other evidence.

(12) Request the parties at any time during the hearing to state their respective positions concerning any issue in the case and/or supporting theory(ies).

(13) Take any other necessary action authorized by the Board's published Rules and Regulations.

(b) Upon the request of any party or of the Administrative Law Judge assigned to hear a case, or upon the Chief Judge, Deputy Chief Judge, or Associate Chief Judge's own motion, the Chief Judge, Deputy Chief Judge or an Associate Chief Judge may assign a Judge other than the trial judge to conduct settlement negotiations. In exercising this discretion, the Chief Judge, Deputy Chief Judge, or Associate Chief Judge making the assignment will consider, among other factors, whether there is reason to believe that resolution of the dispute is likely, the request for assignment of a settlement judge is made in good faith, and the assignment is otherwise feasible. However, no such assignment will be made absent the agreement of all parties to the use of this procedure.

(1) The settlement judge will convene and preside over conferences and settlement negotiations between the parties, assess the practicalities of a potential settlement, and report to the Chief Judge, Deputy Chief Judge, or Associate Chief Judge the status of settlement negotiations, recommending continuation or termination of the settlement negotiations. Where feasible, settlement conferences will be held in person.

(2) The settlement judge may require that the attorney or other representative for each party be present at settlement conferences and that the parties or agents with full settlement authority also be present or available by telephone.

(3) Participation of the settlement judge will terminate upon the order of the Chief Judge, Deputy Chief Judge, or Associate Chief Judges issued after consultation with the settlement judge. The conduct of settlement negotiations must not unduly delay the hearing.

(4) All discussions between the parties and the settlement judge will be confidential. The settlement judge must not discuss any aspect of the case with the trial judge, and no evidence regarding statements, conduct, offers of settlement, and concessions of the parties made in proceedings before the settlement judge will be admissible in any proceeding before the Board, except by stipulation of the parties. Documents disclosed in the settlement process may not be used in litigation unless voluntarily produced or obtained pursuant to subpoena.

(5) No decision of a Chief Judge, Deputy Chief Judge, or Associate Chief Judge concerning the assignment of a settlement judge or the termination of a settlement judge's assignment is appealable to the Board.

(6) Any settlement reached under the auspices of a settlement judge is subject to approval in accordance with the provisions of § 101.9 of the Board's Statements of Procedure.

(c) Upon a showing of good cause based on compelling circumstances, and under appropriate safeguards, the taking of video testimony by contemporaneous transmission from a different location may be permitted.

(1) Applications to obtain testimony by videoconference must be presented to the Administrative Law Judge in writing, and the requesting party must simultaneously serve notice of the application upon all parties to the hearing. The application must set forth the compelling circumstances for such testimony, the witness's name and address, the location where the video testimony will be held, the matter concerning which the witness is expected to testify, the conditions in place to protect the integrity of the testimony, the transmission safeguards, and the electronic address from which the video testimony will be transmitted. Such application and any opposition must be made promptly and within such time as not to delay the proceeding.

(2) Appropriate safeguards must ensure that the Administrative Law Judge has the ability to assess the witness's credibility and that the parties have a meaningful opportunity to examine and cross-examine the witness, and must include at a minimum measures that ensure that representatives of the parties have the opportunity to be present at the remote location, the judge, participants, and the reporter are able to hear the testimony and observe the witness, the camera view is adjustable to provide a close-up view of counsel and the witness and a panoramic view of the room, exhibits used in the witness's examination are exchanged in advance of the examination, and video technology assistance is available to assist with technical difficulties that arise during the examination. The Administrative Law Judge may also impose additional safeguards.

(3) The official record of the videoconference testimony will be the official transcript prepared by the officer designated to transcribe the testimony.

[82 FR 11754, Feb. 24, 2017, as amended at 82 FR 43696, Sept. 19, 2017]