43 CFR 35.10 - Default upon failure to file an answer.
(a) If the defendant does not file an answer within the time prescribed in § 35.9(a) of this part, the reviewing official may refer the complaint to the Office of Hearings and Appeals, Hearings Division, Department of the Interior, for assignment to an ALJ.
(c) The ALJ shall assume the facts alleged in the complaint to be true and, if such facts establish liability under § 35.3 of this part, the ALJ shall issue an initial decision imposing the maximum amount of penalties and assessments allowed under the statute.
(d) Except as otherwise provided in this section, by failing to file a timely answer the defendant waives any right to further review of the penalties and assessments imposed under paragraph (c) of this section, and the initial decision shall become final and binding upon the parties 30 days after it is issued.
(e) If, before such an initial decision becomes final, the defendant files a motion with the ALJ seeking to reopen on the grounds that extraordinary circumstances prevented the defendant from filing an answer, the initial decision shall be stayed pending the ALJ's decision on the motion.
(f) If, on such motion, the defendant can demonstrate extraordinary circumstances excusing the failure to file a timely answer, the ALJ shall withdraw the initial decision in paragraph (c) of this section, if such a decision has been issued, and shall grant the defendant an opportunity to answer the complaint.
(h) The defendant may appeal the decision denying a motion to reopen by filing a notice of appeal with the Director within 15 days after the ALJ denies the motion. The timely filing of a notice of appeal shall stay the initial decision until the appeal is decided.
(k) If the Director decides that extraordinary circumstances excused the defendant's failure to file a timely answer, the Director shall remand the case to the ALJ with instructions to grant the defendant an opportunity to answer.
(l) If the Director decides that the defendant's failure to file a timely answer is not excused, the Director shall reinstate the initial decision of the ALJ, which shall become final and binding upon the parties 30 days after the Director issues such decision.