49 CFR § 831.11 - Parties to the investigation.

§ 831.11 Parties to the investigation.

(a) Participants.

(1) The IIC may designate one or more entities to serve as parties in an investigation. Party status is limited to those persons, Federal, state, or local government agencies and organizations whose employees, functions, activities, or products were involved in the accident and that can provide suitable qualified technical personnel to actively assist in an investigation. To the extent practicable, a representative proposed by party organizations to participate in the investigation may not be a person who had direct involvement in the accident under investigation.

(2) Except for the FAA, no entity has a right to participate in an NTSB investigation as a party.

(3) The participation of the Administrator of the FAA and other Federal entities in aviation accident investigations is addressed in § 831.21 of this part.

(4) Participants in an investigation (e.g., party representatives, party coordinators, and/or the larger party organization) must follow all directions and instructions from NTSB representatives. Party status may be revoked or suspended if a party fails to comply with assigned duties and instructions, withholds information, or otherwise acts in a manner prejudicial or disruptive to an investigation.

(b) Prohibitions on serving as party representatives.

(1) In accordance with § 845.6 of this chapter, no party representative may occupy a legal position or be a person who also represents claimants or insurers.

(2) Failure to comply with these provisions may result in sanctions, including loss of party status.

(c) Disclosures.

(1) The name of a party and its representative may be disclosed in documents the NTSB places in the public docket for the investigation.

(2) The NTSB may share information considered proprietary or confidential by one party with other parties during the course of an investigation, but will preserve the confidentiality of the information to the greatest extent possible.

(3) Section 831.6(d) of this part describes how the NTSB will handle voluntarily submitted safety information, and the NTSB's determination whether to share any such information. The NTSB will de-identify the source of such information when deciding to share it.

(d) Party agreement. Except for representatives of other Federal agencies, all party representatives must sign the “Statement of Party Representatives to NTSB Investigation” (Statement) upon acceptance of party status. Failure to timely sign the statement may result in sanctions, including loss of party status. Representatives of other Federal agencies, while not required to sign the Statement, will be provided notice of and must comply with the responsibilities and limitations set forth in the agreement.

(e) Internal review by a party.

(1) To assure coordination of concurrent efforts, a party to an investigation that conducts or authorizes a review of its own processes and procedures as a result of an accident the NTSB is investigating, by signing the party agreement, agrees to, in a timely manner—

(i) Inform the IIC of the nature of the review; and

(ii) Provide the IIC with the findings from the review.

(2) If the findings from a review contain privileged information—,

(i) The submitting party must inform the IIC that the review contains privileged information;

(ii) The submitting party must identify the privileged content at the time of submission to the IIC; and

(iii) The NTSB must, if informed that such information is being submitted, review the information for relevancy to the investigation, and determine whether public disclosure of the information is necessary for the investigation.

(3) The NTSB may use the protections described in § 831.6 of this part, as applicable, to protect certain findings from public disclosure.

(4) Investigations performed by other Federal agencies during an NTSB investigation are addressed in § 831.5 of this part.