7 CFR 1.641 - How may parties obtain discovery of information needed for the case?
(a)General. By agreement of the parties or with the permission of the ALJ, a party may obtain discovery of information to assist the party in preparing or presenting its case. Available methods of discovery are:
(1) Written interrogatories as provided in § 1.643;
(2) Depositions of witnesses as provided in paragraph (h) of this section; and
(3) Requests for production of designated documents or tangible things or for entry on designated land for inspection or other purposes.
(b)Criteria. Discovery may occur only as agreed to by the parties or as authorized by the ALJ during a prehearing conference or in a written order under § 1.640(g). The ALJ may authorize discovery only if the party requesting discovery demonstrates:
(2) That the information sought:
(iii) Is not cumulative or repetitious; and
(iv) Is not privileged or protected from disclosure by applicable law;
(3) That the scope of the discovery is not unduly burdensome;
(4) That the method to be used is the least burdensome method available;
(5) That any trade secrets or proprietary information can be adequately safeguarded; and
(6) That the standards for discovery under paragraphs (f) through (h) of this section have been met, if applicable.
(c)Motions. A party may initiate discovery:
(1) Pursuant to an agreement of the parties; or
(2) By filing a motion that:
(i) Briefly describes the proposed method(s), purpose, and scope of the discovery;
(ii) Explains how the discovery meets the criteria in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(6) of this section; and
(iii) Attaches a copy of any proposed discovery request (written interrogatories, notice of deposition, or request for production of designated documents or tangible things or for entry on designated land).
(d)Timing of motions. A party must file any discovery motion under paragraph (c)(2) of this section within 7 days after the effective date stated in the referral notice under § 1.626(c)(4), 43 CFR 45.26(c)(4), or 50 CFR 221.26(c)(4).
(f)Materials prepared for hearing. A party generally may not obtain discovery of documents and tangible things otherwise discoverable under paragraph (b) of this section if they were prepared in anticipation of or for the hearing by or for another party's representative (including the party's attorney, expert, or consultant).
(1) If a party wants to discover such materials, it must show:
(i) That it has substantial need of the materials in preparing its own case; and
(ii) That the party is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means.
(2) In ordering discovery of such materials when the required showing has been made, the ALJ must protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney.
(g)Experts. Unless restricted by the ALJ, a party may discover any facts known or opinions held by an expert through the methods set out in paragraph (a) of this section concerning any relevant matters that are not privileged. Such discovery will be permitted only if:
(1) The expert is expected to be a witness at the hearing; or
(i) That it has a compelling need for the information; and
(ii) That it cannot practicably obtain the information by other means.
(h)Limitations on depositions.
(i) Will be unable to attend the hearing because of age, illness, or other incapacity; or
(i) That the employee's testimony is necessary in order to provide significant, unprivileged information that is not available from any other source or by less burdensome means; and
(ii) That the deposition would not significantly interfere with the employee's ability to perform his or her government duties.
- 7 CFR 1.640 — What Are the Requirements for Prehearing Conferences?
- 7 CFR 1.645 — What Are the Requirements for Requests for Documents or Tangible Things or Entry on Land?
- 7 CFR 1.643 — What Are the Requirements for Written Interrogatories?
- 7 CFR 1.644 — What Are the Requirements for Depositions?
- 7 CFR 1.631 — What Are the Powers of the ALJ?