7 CFR § 283.20 - Review by the Judicial Officer.

§ 283.20 Review by the Judicial Officer.

(a) Filing of review petition.

(1) Within 30 days after service of the ALJ's initial decision, or any part thereof, any party may seek Judicial Officer review of such decision by filing a review petition with the Hearing Clerk. However, if another party files a motion for reconsideration under § 283.17(d), consideration of the review petition shall be stayed automatically pending resolution of the motion for reconsideration. If a motion for reconsideration is timely filed, a review petition may be filed within 30 days after the ALJ denies the motion or issues a revised initial decision, whichever applies.

(2) As provided in § 283.15(h), objections made before the ALJ regarding evidence or regarding a limitation on examination or cross-examination or other ruling may be relied upon in a Judicial Officer review.

(3) Each issue set forth in the review petition, and the arguments thereon, shall be plainly and concisely stated; and shall contain detailed citations to the record, statutes, regulations or authorities being relied upon in support thereof. A brief in support may be filed simultaneously with the review petition.

(b) Response to review petition. Within 30 days after service of a copy of a review petition and any brief in support thereof, any other party to the proceedings may file a response in support of or in opposition to the review petition and in such response any relevant issue, not presented in the review petition, may be raised.

(c) Transmittal of the record.

(1) Whenever a review petition of an ALJ's initial decision is filed and a response thereto has been filed or time for filing a response has expired, the Hearing Clerk shall transmit to the Judicial Officer the record of the appeal.

(2) Such record shall include: The pleadings; motions and requests filed and rulings thereon; the transcript of the testimony taken at the hearing, together with the exhibits filed in connection therewith; any documents or papers filed in connection with a prehearing conference; such proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, orders, and briefs in support thereof, as may have been filed in connection with the appeal; the ALJ's initial decision; the motion for reconsideration of the ALJ's initial decision; the ALJ's initial decision on the motion for reconsideration and the review petition, and such briefs in support thereof and responses thereto as may have been filed.

(d) Oral argument. A party filing a review petition may request, within the prescribed time for filing such review petition, an opportunity for oral argument before the Judicial Officer. Within the time allowed for filing a response, the responding party may file a request for such oral argument. Failure to make such request to appear before the Judicial Officer, within the prescribed time period, shall be deemed a waiver of the opportunity for oral argument. There is no right to appear personally before the Judicial Officer. The Judicial Officer may grant, refuse, or limit any request for oral argument. Oral argument shall not be transcribed unless so ordered in advance by the Judicial Officer for cause shown upon request of a party or upon the Judicial Officer's own motion.

(e) Scope of argument. Argument to be heard by the Judicial Officer on review, whether oral or on brief, shall be limited to the issues raised in the review petition to the Judicial Officer or in the response to such petition, except that if the Judicial Officer determines that additional issues should be argued, the parties shall be given reasonable notice of such determination, so as to permit adequate preparation on all issues to be argued.

(f) Notice of argument; postponement. The Hearing Clerk shall advise all parties of the time and place at which oral argument will be heard. A request for postponement of the argument must be made by motion filed within a reasonable time in advance of the date fixed for argument.

(g) Order of argument. The appellant is entitled to commence and conclude the argument.

(h) Submission of briefs. By agreement of the parties, a review may be submitted for decision on the briefs, but the Judicial Officer may direct that the review be argued orally.

(i) Additional evidence. If any party demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Judicial Officer that additional evidence not presented to the ALJ is material, not cumulative, and that there were reasonable grounds for the failure to present such evidence to the ALJ, the Judicial Officer shall remand the matter to the ALJ for consideration of such additional evidence.

(j) Decision of the Judicial Officer on review.

(1) As soon as practicable after the receipt of the record from the Hearing Clerk, or, in case oral argument was had, as soon as practicable thereafter, the Judicial Officer, upon the basis of the record and any matter of which official notice is taken, shall rule on the review.

(2) The Judicial Officer may adopt, reduce, reverse, compromise, remand or approve settlement of any claim initially decided by the ALJ under this part.

(3) The Judicial Officer shall promptly serve each party to the appeal with a copy of the ruling of the Judicial Officer which shall be considered the final determination and contain a statement describing the right to seek judicial review.

(4) Judicial review must be sought within 30 days of service of the final notice of determination by the Judicial Officer pursuant to 7 U.S.C. 2023(a).