45 CFR § 681.10 - What happens if a defendant fails to file an answer?
(c) The ALJ will assume the facts alleged in the complaint to be true and, if such facts establish liability under the statute, the ALJ will issue an initial decision imposing the maximum amount of penalties and assessments allowed under PFCRA.
(d) Except as otherwise provided in this section, when a defendant fails to file a timely answer, the defendant waives any right to further review of the penalties and assessments imposed in the initial decision.
(e) The initial decision becomes final 30 days after it is issued.
(f) At any time before an initial decision becomes final, a defendant may file a motion with the ALJ asking that the case be reopened. An ALJ may only reopen a case if, in this motion, he or she determines that the defendant set forth extraordinary circumstances that prevented the defendant from filing a timely answer. The initial decision will be stayed until the ALJ makes a decision on the motion. The reviewing official may respond to the motion.
(g) If the ALJ determines that a defendant has demonstrated extraordinary circumstances excusing his failure to file a timely answer, the ALJ will withdraw the initial decision, and grant the defendant an opportunity to answer the complaint.
(i) The defendant may appeal to the authority head the decision denying a motion to reopen by filing a notice of appeal with the authority head within 15 days after the ALJ denies the motion. The timely filing of a notice of appeal shall stay the initial decision until the authority head decides the issue.
(l) If the authority head decides that extraordinary circumstances excused the defendant's failure to file a timely answer, the authority head shall remand the case to the ALJ with instructions to grant the defendant an opportunity to answer.
(m) If the authority head decides that the defendant's failure to file a timely answer is not excused, the authority head shall reinstate the initial decision of the ALJ, which shall become final and binding upon the parties 30 days after the authority head issues such a decision.