Ala. Admin. Code r. 540-X-6-.03 - Hearing Officer

Current through Register Vol. 40, No. 6, March 31, 2022

(1) A hearing officer is an individual appointed by the Board to act in such capacities and with such authority as is specified herein. A hearing officer may be an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Alabama, or may be any person with the experience and qualifications necessary to carry out the duties of the hearing officer. The hearing officer shall be compensated at a rate to be prescribed by the Board for services actually performed pursuant to a contractual agreement entered into between the Board and the hearing officer. Subject to the restrictions concerning participation in prosecution and conflict of interest, a hearing officer may be an employee of the Board.
(2) The general duties of the hearing officer shall be to guide and direct the course of contested cases before the Board, to advise the Board on matters of law and evidence pertaining to those contested cases and to assist the Board in the preparation of orders and decrees resulting from hearings on contested cases. Specifically, the hearing officer shall be empowered to:
(a) Rule upon any motions contesting or challenging the legal sufficiency of a complaint, order to show cause, or other document which is the basis of a contested case, subject to the limitation set forth in paragraph (e) below.
(b) Rule on all prehearing motions by all parties to a contested case except that the hearing officer may not grant a continuance or postponement of a hearing in a contested case without the consent of the chairman of the Board.
(c) Order the attendance of parties and/or attorneys at hearings and conferences on matters related to the contested case.
(d) Establish on behalf of the Board submission dates, deadlines and time tables which shall be binding on the parties in all matters related to the orderly conduct of the contested case.
(e) Enter orders on behalf of the Board when the Board is not in session on legal matters related to a pending contested case, except that the hearing officer is not authorized to dismiss a complaint. The hearing officer may order the complainant to file a more definite statement or to amend his complaint to provide additional information. Dismissal of a complaint will only be upon the order of the Board.
(f) Administer oaths and to certify the authenticity of documents when required in the discharge of his duties as hearing officer in a contested case.
(g) Direct that evidence relevant to the general character and reputation of the registrant be submitted in writing by affidavit or to place reasonable limitations upon the number of witnesses permitted to testify as to the character and reputation of the registrant.
(h) Render advice to the chairman of the Board on the conduct of all aspects of hearings on contested cases.
(3) Except as limited above, the hearing officer is authorized to rule on all legal matters including motions addressed to the sufficiency of the complaint, objections to the evidence, motions to dismiss for lack of evidence, and any other matters requiring a legal opinion. The ruling of the hearing officer shall be deemed to be the official ruling of the Board unless that ruling is challenged by a member of the Board, in which case the Board shall consider the challenge to the ruling of the hearing officer outside the presence of the parties and may affirm, modify or overrule the decision of the hearing officer.
(4) The hearing officer shall advise the Board on matters of evidence and law during its deliberations and shall, if requested, prepare and present for consideration by the Board proposed findings of fact and proposed conclusions of law; provided, however, that the Board in its final decision may, within its sole discretion, modify, alter, amend or disregard such proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.
(5) When directed by the Board, the hearing officer shall prepare the final order reflecting the decision of the Board in each contested case. The final order shall be executed and authenticated in the manner prescribed by the Board.
(6) When directed by the Board, the hearing officer shall notify all parties to the hearing of the final order of the Board and of all appellate remedies available to any party that is adversely affected by a decision of the Board.
(7) In addition, the hearing officer shall be authorized to perform such duties and functions in each specific case as may be prescribed by the Board, it being the intent of this rule that the hearing officer shall be the chief legal advisor to the Board in the conduct and disposition of all contested cases; however, the Board shall retain the authority in all cases to hear all evidence and argument and be the sole judge of the facts. The Board shall fix the penalty or restriction, if any, to be imposed at the conclusion of a contested case. The Board shall appoint a hearing officer in each contested case unless the case is subject to informal disposition as otherwise provided in these rules.
(8) The person appointed by the Board to act as a hearing officer in the contested case shall not have participated in the investigation or prosecution of the registrant in the matters pertaining to the contested case. The hearing officer shall not have a manifest conflict of interest with any party in a contested case.

Author: Wendell R. Morgan

Notes

Ala. Admin. Code r. 540-X-6-.03
Filed January 19, 1984 as Rule No. 540-X-6-.04. Rules reorganized--rule number changed to 540-X-6-.03 (see conversion table at end of code): Filed June 14, 1984 (without publication in AAM).

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, ยงยง 20-2-53; 20-2-54; 34-24-53; 41-22-1, et seq.

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