49 CFR 1113.4 - Prehearing conferences.
(a) Purposes. Upon written notice by the Board in any proceeding, or upon written or oral instruction of an officer, parties or their representatives may be directed to appear before an officer at a specified time and place for a conference, prior to or during the course of a hearing, or in lieu of personally appearing, to submit suggestions in writing, for the purpose of formulating issues and considering:
(1) The simplification of issues;
(2) The necessity or desirability of amending the pleadings either for the purpose of clarification, amplification, or limitation;
(3) The possibility of making admissions of certain averments of fact or stipulations concerning the use by any or all parties of matters of public record, such as annual reports and the like, to avoid the unnecessary introduction of proof;
(4) The procedure at the hearing;
(5) The limitation of the number of witnesses;
(6) The propriety of prior mutual exchange between or among the parties of prepared testimony and exhibits; and
(7) Such other matters, including disposition of requests for discovery, as may aid in the simplification of the evidence and disposition of the proceeding. Parties may request a prehearing conference.
(b) Facts disclosed privileged. Facts disclosed in the course of the prehearing conference are privileged and, except by agreement, will not be used against participating parties either before the Board or elsewhere unless fully corroborated by other evidence.
(c) Recordation and decision. Action taken at the conference, including a recitation of the amendments allowed to the pleadings, the agreements made by the parties as to any of the matters considered, and defining the issues, will be recorded in an appropriate decision unless the parties enter into a written stipulation as to such matters, or agree to a statement thereof made on the record by the officer.
(d) Objection to the decision; subsequent proceedings. If a decision is entered, the parties may, within 20 days of the date of service, or within such lesser time as is set by the officer, present objections on the grounds that the decision does not fully or correctly embody the agreements reached at the conference. Thereafter the terms of the written stipulation or statement of the officer, as the case may be, will determine the subsequent course of the proceedings, unless modified to prevent manifest injustice.