7 CFR 1.322 - Discovery.
(a) The following types of discovery are authorized:
(1) Requests for production, inspection and photocopying of documents;
(2) Requests for admission of the authenticity of any relevant document or the truth of any relevant fact;
(3) Written interrogatories; and
(b) The ALJ shall set the schedule for discovery.
(c) Requests for production of documents and requests for admission.
(1) A party may serve requests for production of documents or requests for admission on another party.
(2) If a party served with such requests fails to respond timely, the requesting party may file a motion to compel production or deem admissions, as appropriate.
(3) A party served with such a request may file a motion for a protective order before the date on which a response to the discovery request is due, stating reasons why discovery should be limited or should not be required.
(4) Within 15 days of service of a motion to compel or to deem matter admitted or a motion for a protective order, the opposing party may file a response.
(5) The ALJ may grant a motion to compel production or deem matter admitted or may deny a motion for a protective order only if he finds that -
(i) The discovery sought is necessary for the expeditious, fair, and reasonable consideration of the issues;
(ii) It is not unduly costly or burdensome;
(iii) It will not unduly delay the proceeding; and
(iv) The information sought is not privileged.
(d) Depositions and written interrogatories. Depositions and written interrogatories are permitted only on the order of the ALJ.
(1) A party seeking to use depositions or written interrogatories may file a motion with the ALJ.
(2) A party and/or the potential deponent may file an opposition to the motion or a motion for a protective order within 10 days of service of the motion.
(3) The ALJ may grant a motion allowing the taking of a deposition or the use of interrogatories or may deny a motion for a protective order only if he finds that the moving party has satisfied the standards set forth in paragraph (c)(5) of this section and has shown that the information sought cannot be obtained by any other means.
(4) If the ALJ grants a motion permitting a deposition, he shall issue a subpoena, which may also require the witness to produce documents. The party seeking to depose shall serve the subpoena in the manner prescribed in § 1.308 of this part.
(5) The party seeking to depose shall provide for the taking of a verbatim transcript of the deposition, which it shall make available to all other parties for inspection and copying.
(e) Costs. The costs of discovery shall be borne by the party seeking discovery.
(f) In issuing a protective order, the ALJ may make any order which justice requires to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including one or more of the following:
(1) That the discovery not be had;
(2) That the discovery may be had only on specified terms and conditions, including a designation of the time or place;
(3) That the discovery may be had only through a method of discovery other than that requested;
(4) That certain matters not be inquired into, or that the scope of discovery be limited to certain matters;
(6) That the contents of discovery or evidence be sealed;
(7) That a deposition after being sealed be opened only by order of the ALJ;
(8) That a trade secret or other confidential research, development, commercial information or facts pertaining to any criminal investigation, proceeding, or other administrative investigation not be disclosed or be disclosed only in a designated way; or
(9) That the parties simultaneously file specified documents or information enclosed in sealed envelopes to be opened as directed by the ALJ.
(g) Exchange of witness lists, statements, and exhibits. Witness lists, copies of prior statements of proposed witnesses, and copies of proposed hearing exhibits, including copies of any written statements or depositions that a party intends to offer in lieu of live testimony in accordance with § 1.331(b) of this part, shall be exchanged at least 15 days in advance of the hearing, or at such other time as may be set by the ALJ. A witness whose name does not appear on the witness list shall not be permitted to testify and no exhibit not provided to the opposing party as provided above shall be admitted into evidence at the hearing absent a showing of good cause.