49 CFR 190.211 - Hearing.
(a) General. This section applies to hearings conducted under this part relating to civil penalty assessments, compliance orders, orders directing amendment, safety orders, and corrective action orders. The Presiding Official will convene hearings conducted under this section.
(b) Hearing request and statement of issues. A request for a hearing must be accompanied by a statement of the issues that the respondent intends to raise at the hearing. The issues may relate to the allegations in the notice, the proposed corrective action, or the proposed civil penalty amount. A respondent's failure to specify an issue may result in waiver of the respondent's right to raise that issue at the hearing. The respondent's request must also indicate whether or not the respondent will be represented by counsel at the hearing. The respondent may withdraw a request for a hearing in writing and provide a written response.
(c) Telephonic and in-person hearings. A telephone hearing will be held if the amount of the proposed civil penalty or the cost of the proposed corrective action is less than $25,000, unless the respondent or OPS submits a written request for an in-person hearing. In-person hearings will normally be held at the office of the appropriate OPS Region. Hearings may be held by video teleconference if the necessary equipment is available to all parties.
(d) Pre-hearing submissions. If OPS or the respondent intends to introduce material, including records, documents, and other exhibits not already in the case file, the material must be submitted to the Presiding Official and the other party at least 10 days prior to the date of the hearing, unless the Presiding Official sets a different deadline or waives the deadline for good cause.
(e) Conduct of the hearing. The hearing is conducted informally without strict adherence to rules of evidence. The Presiding Official regulates the course of the hearing and gives each party an opportunity to offer facts, statements, explanations, documents, testimony or other evidence that is relevant and material to the issues under consideration. The parties may call witnesses on their own behalf and examine the evidence and witnesses presented by the other party. After the evidence in the case has been presented, the Presiding Official will permit reasonable discussion of the issues under consideration.
(f) Written transcripts. If a respondent elects to transcribe a hearing, the respondent must make arrangements with a court reporter at cost to the respondent and submit a complete copy of the transcript for the case file. The respondent must notify the Presiding Official in advance if it intends to transcribe a hearing.
(g) Post-hearing submission. The respondent and OPS may request an opportunity to submit further written material after the hearing for inclusion in the record. The Presiding Official will allow a reasonable time for the submission of the material and will specify the submission date. If the material is not submitted within the time prescribed, the case will proceed to final action without the material.
(h) Preparation of decision. After consideration of the case file, the Presiding Official prepares a recommended decision in the case, which is then forwarded to the Associate Administrator for issuance of a final order.