45 CFR § 2554.39 - How is the case decided?
(a) The ALJ will issue an initial decision based only on the record. It will contain findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the amount of any penalties and assessments imposed.
(b) The ALJ will serve the initial decision on all parties within 90 days after close of the hearing or expiration of any allowed time for submission of post-hearing briefs. If the ALJ fails to meet this deadline, he or she shall promptly notify the parties of the reason for the delay and set a new deadline.
(c) The findings of fact must include a finding on each of the following issues:
(1) Whether any one or more of the claims or statements identified in the complaint violate this part; and
(2) If the defendant is liable for penalties or assessments, the appropriate amount of any such penalties or assessments, considering any mitigating or aggravating factors.
(d) The initial decision will include a description of the right of a defendant found liable for a civil penalty or assessment to file a motion for reconsideration with the ALJ or a notice of appeal with the authority head.