7 CFR 47.6 - Formal complaints.
(a)Filing; contents; number of copies.
(1) If the procedure provided in § 47.3(b) fails to effect an amicable or informal settlement, the person who filed the informal complaint may, if further proceedings are desired, file a formal complaint with the Fruit and Vegetable Programs. The formal complaint shall be filed within ninety days of notification of the opportunity to proceed formally. Failure to file a formal reparation complaint within the time prescribed shall result in the waiver of further proceedings on the claim alleged in the informal complaint.
(2) The formal complaint shall set forth the information and be accompanied by the papers indicated in § 47.3(a)(2) and (3), including a statement of the amount of damages claimed, with the basis therefor, and the method of determination. The original and three copies shall be furnished for filing, and service on the respondent. If there is more than one respondent, a further copy shall be furnished for each additional respondent.
(b)Bond required if complainant is nonresident. If formal complaint for reparation is filed by a nonresident of the United States, complainant shall first file a bond in double the amount of the claim either with a surety company approved by the Treasury Department of the United States as surety or with two personal sureties, each of whom shall be a citizen of the United States and shall qualify as financially responsible for the entire amount of the bond. The bond shall run to the respondent and be conditioned upon the payment of costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, for the respondent if the respondent shall prevail, and of any reparation award that may be issued by the Secretary against the complainant on any counterclaim asserted by respondent: Provided, That the furnishing of a bond may be waived at the discretion of the Secretary if the complainant is a resident of a country which permits the filing of a complaint in an administrative forum or its equivalent which is substantially similar to that provided under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act by a resident of the United States against a citizen of that country without the furnishing of a bond. Nothing in this section shall limit the discretion of the Secretary to deny such a waiver in order to effectuate the purposes of the Act or to protect the interests of the businesses concerned.
(c) Service upon respondent; proof of service. Upon receipt by the Fruit and Vegetable Programs of the formal complaint, the accompanying papers and the $500 handling fee authorized by the Act, a copy thereof shall be served by the Fruit and Vegetable Programs upon the respondent in accordance with § 47.4 of this part. If the complaint is not in the proper form, the Fruit and Vegetable Programs shall return it and inform the complainant of the deficiencies therein.
(d)Amendments. At any time prior to the close of the hearing, the complaint may be amended; but, in case of an amendment adding new provisions, the hearing shall, if the respondent so requests, be adjourned for a reasonable time to be determined by the examiner: Provided, That, if the amendment introduces a new or different cause of action, it must be filed within 9 months after the cause of action accrued. Amendments subsequent to the first amendment or subsequent to the filing of an answer by the respondent may be made only with leave of the examiner or with the written consent of the adverse party.