47 CFR § 1.721 - General pleading requirements.

§ 1.721 General pleading requirements.

Formal complaint proceedings are generally resolved on a written record consisting of a complaint, answer, reply, and joint statement of stipulated facts, disputed facts and key legal issues, along with all associated evidence in the record. The Commission may also require or permit other written submissions such as briefs, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, or other supplementary documents or pleadings.

(a) All papers filed in any proceeding subject to this part must be drawn in conformity with the requirements of §§ 1.49, 1.50, and 1.52.

(b) Pleadings must be clear, concise, and direct. All matters concerning a claim, defense or requested remedy, including damages, should be pleaded fully and with specificity.

(c) Pleadings must contain facts which, if true, are sufficient to constitute a violation of the Act or a Commission regulation or order, or a defense to an alleged violation.

(d) Averred facts, claims, or defenses shall be made in numbered paragraphs and must be supported by relevant evidence. The contents of each paragraph shall be limited as far as practicable to a statement of a single set of circumstances. Each claim founded on a separate transaction or occurrence and each affirmative defense shall be separately stated to facilitate the clear presentation of the matters set forth. Assertions based on information and belief are prohibited unless made in good faith and accompanied by a declaration or affidavit explaining the basis for the party's belief and why the party could not reasonably ascertain the facts from any other source.

(e) Legal arguments must be supported by appropriate statutory, judicial, or administrative authority.

(f) Opposing authorities must be distinguished.

(g) Copies must be provided of all non-Commission authorities relied upon which are not routinely available in national reporting systems, such as unpublished decisions or slip opinions of courts or administrative agencies. In addition, copies of state authorities relied upon shall be provided.

(h) Parties are responsible for the continuing accuracy and completeness of all information and supporting authority furnished in a pending complaint proceeding. Information submitted, as well as relevant legal authorities, must be current and updated as necessary and in a timely manner before a decision is rendered on the merits of the complaint.

(i) Specific reference shall be made to any tariff or contract provision relied on in support of a claim or defense. Copies of relevant tariffs, contracts, or relevant portions that are referred to or relied upon in a complaint, answer, or other pleading shall be appended to such pleading.

(j) Pleadings shall identify the name, address, telephone number, and email address for either the filing party's attorney or, where a party is not represented by an attorney, the filing party. Pleadings may be signed by a party's attorney.

(k) All attachments shall be Bates-stamped or otherwise numbered sequentially. Parties shall cite to Bates-stamped page numbers in their pleadings.

(l) Pleadings shall be served on all parties to the proceeding in accordance with § 1.734 and shall include a certificate of service.

(m) Each pleading or other submission must contain a written verification that the signatory has read the submission and, to the best of his or her knowledge, information and belief formed after reasonable inquiry, it is well grounded in fact and is warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law; and that it is not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of the proceeding. If any pleading or other submission is signed in violation of this provision, the Commission may upon motion or upon its own initiative impose appropriate sanctions.

(n) Parties may petition the staff, pursuant to § 1.3, for a waiver of any of the rules governing formal complaints. Such waiver may be granted for good cause shown.

(o) A complaint may, on request of the filing party, be dismissed without prejudice as a matter of right prior to the adoption date of any final action taken by the Commission with respect to the complaint. A request for the return of an initiating document will be regarded as a request for dismissal.

(p) Amendments or supplements to complaints to add new claims or requests for relief are prohibited.

(q) Failure to prosecute a complaint will be cause for dismissal.

(r) Any document purporting to be a formal complaint which does not state a cause of action under the Communications Act, or a Commission regulation or order, will be dismissed. In such case, any amendment or supplement to such document will be considered a new filing which must be made within any applicable statutory limitations of actions.

(s) Any other pleading that does not conform with the requirements of the applicable rules may be deemed defective. In such case the Commission may strike the pleading or request that specified defects be corrected and that proper pleadings be filed with the Commission and served on all parties within a prescribed time as a condition to being made a part of the record in the proceeding.

(t) Pleadings shall be construed so as to do justice.

(u) Any party that fails to respond to official correspondence, a request for additional information, or an order or directive from the Commission may be subject to appropriate sanctions.

[83 FR 44832, Sept. 4, 2018]