OSHRC Banner
Procedural Rules

Subpart F -- Posthearing Procedures

§2200.90 Decisions of Judges.

(a) Contents. The Judge shall prepare a decision that constitutes his final disposition of the proceedings. The decision shall be in writing and shall include findings of fact, conclusions of law, and the reasons or bases for them, on all the material issues of fact, law or discretion presented on the record. The decision shall include an order affirming, modifying or vacating each contested citation item and each proposed penalty, or directing other appropriate relief. A decision finally disposing of a petition for modification of the abatement period shall contain an order affirming or modifying the abatement period.

(b) The judge’s report.

(1) Mailing to parties. The Judge shall mail or otherwise transmit a copy of his decision to each party.

(2) Docketing of Judge's report by Executive Secretary. On the eleventh day after the transmittal of his decision to the parties, the Judge shall file his report with the Executive Secretary for docketing. The report shall consist of the record, including the Judge's decision, any petitions for discretionary review and statements in opposition to such petitions. Promptly upon receipt of the Judge's report, the Executive Secretary shall docket the report and notify all parties of the docketing date. The date of docketing of the Judge's report is the date that the Judge's report is made for purposes of section 12(j) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. §661(j).

(3) Correction of errors; Relief from default. Until the Judge's report has been directed for review or, in the absence of a direction for review, until the decision has become a final order, the Judge may correct clerical errors and errors arising through oversight or inadvertence in decisions, orders or other parts of the record. If a Judge's report has been directed for review the decision may be corrected during the pendency of review with leave of the Commission. Until the Judge's report has been docketed by the Executive Secretary, the Judge may relieve a party of default or grant reinstatement under §§2200.101(b), 2200.52(f) or 2200.64(b).

(c) Filing documents after the docketing date. Except for papers filed under paragraph (b)(3) of this section, which shall be filed with the Judge, on or after the date of the docketing of the Judge's report all documents shall be filed with the Executive Secretary.

(d) Judge's decision final unless review directed. If no Commissioner directs review of a report on or before the thirtieth day following the date of docketing of the Judge's report, the decision of the Judge shall become a final order of the Commission.

§2200.91 Discretionary review; Petitions for discretionary review; Statements in opposition to petitions.

(a) Review discretionary. Review by the Commission is not a right. A Commissioner may, as a matter of discretion, direct review on his own motion or on the petition of a party.

(b) Petitions for discretionary review. A party adversely affected or aggrieved by the decision of the Judge may seek review by the Commission by filing a petition for discretionary review. Discretionary review by the Commission may be sought by filing with the Judge a petition for discretionary review within the ten-day period provided by §2200.90(b)(2). Review by the Commission may also be sought by filing directly with the Executive Secretary a petition for discretionary review. A petition filed directly with the Executive Secretary shall be filed within 20 days after the date of docketing of the Judge's report. The earlier a petition is filed, the more consideration it can be given. A petition for discretionary review may be conditional, and may state that review is sought only if a Commissioner were to direct review on the petition of an opposing party.

(c) Cross-petitions for discretionary review. Where a petition for discretionary review has been filed by one party, any other party adversely affected or aggrieved by the decision of the Judge may seek review by the Commission by filing a cross-petition for discretionary review. The cross-petition may be conditional. See paragraph (b) of this section. A cross-petition shall be filed with the Judge during the 10 days provided by §2200.90(b) or directly with the Executive Secretary within 27 days after the date of docketing of the Judge's report. The earlier a cross-petition is filed, the more consideration it can be given.

(d) Contents of the petition. No particular form is required for a petition for discretionary review. A petition should state why review should be directed, including: Whether the Judge's decision raises an important question of law, policy or discretion; whether review by the Commission will resolve a question about which the Commission's Judges have rendered differing opinions; whether the Judge's decision is contrary to law or Commission precedent; whether a finding of material fact is not supported by a preponderance of the evidence; whether a prejudicial error of procedure or an abuse of discretion was committed. A petition should concisely state the portions of the decision for which review is sought and should refer to the citations and citation items (for example, citation 3, item 4a) for which review is sought. A petition shall not incorporate by reference a brief or legal memorandum. Brevity and the inclusion of precise references to the record and legal authorities will facilitate prompt review of the petition.

(e) When filing effective. A petition for discretionary review is filed when received. If a petition has been filed with the Judge, another petition need not be filed with the Commission.

(f) Failure to file. The failure of a party adversely affected or aggrieved by the Judge's decision to file a petition for discretionary review may foreclose court review of the objections to the Judge's decision. See Keystone Roofing Co. v. Dunlop, 539 F.2d 960 (3d Cir. 1976).

(g) Statements in opposition to petition. Statements in opposition to petitions for discretionary review may be filed in the manner specified in this section for the filing of petitions for discretionary review. Statements in opposition shall concisely state why the Judge's decision should not be reviewed with respect to each portion of the petition to which it is addressed.

§2200.92 Review by the Commission.

(a) Jurisdiction of the Commission; Issues on review. Unless the Commission orders otherwise, a direction for review establishes jurisdiction in the Commission to review the entire case. The issues to be decided on review are within the discretion of the Commission but ordinarily will be those stated in the direction for review, those raised in the petitions for discretionary review, or those stated in any later order.

(b) Review on a Commissioner's motion; Issues on review. At any time within 30 days after the docketing date of the Judge's report, a Commissioner may, on his own motion, direct that a Judge's decision be reviewed. In the absence of a petition for discretionary review, a Commissioner will normally not direct review unless the case raises novel questions of law or policy or questions involving conflict in Administrative Law Judges' decisions. When a Commissioner directs review on his own motion, the issues ordinarily will be those specified in the direction for review or any later order.

(c) Issues not raised before Judge. The Commission will ordinarily not review issues that the Judge did not have the opportunity to pass upon. In exercising discretion to review issues that the Judge did not have the opportunity to pass upon, the Commission may consider such factors as whether there was good cause for not raising the issue before the Judge, the degree to which the issue is factual, the degree to which proceedings will be disrupted or delayed by raising the issue on review, whether the ability of an adverse party to press a claim or defense would be impaired, and whether considering the new issue would avoid injustice or ensure that judgment will be rendered in accordance with the law and facts.

§2200.93 Briefs before the Commission.

(a) Requests for briefs. The Commission ordinarily will request the parties to file briefs on issues before the Commission. After briefs are requested, a party may, instead of filing a brief, file a letter setting forth its arguments, a letter stating that it will rely on its petition for discretionary review or previous brief, or a letter stating that it wishes the case decided without its brief. The provisions of this section apply to the filing of briefs and letters filed in lieu of briefs.

(b) Filing briefs. Unless the briefing notice states otherwise:

(1) Time for filing briefs. The party required to file the first brief shall do so within 40 days after the date of the briefing notice. All other parties shall file their briefs within 30 days after the first brief is served. Any reply brief permitted by these rules or by order shall be filed within 15 days after the second brief is served.

(2) Sequence of filing.

(i) If one petition for discretionary or interlocutory review has been filed, the petitioning party shall file the first brief.

(ii) If more than one petition has been filed but only one was granted, the party whose petition was granted shall file the first brief.

(iii) If more than one petition has been filed, and more than one has been granted or none has been granted, the Secretary shall file the first brief.

(iv) If no petition has been filed, the Secretary shall file the first brief.

(3) Reply briefs. The party who filed the first brief may file a reply brief. Additional briefs are otherwise not allowed except by leave of the Commission.

(c) Motion for extension of time for filing brief. An extension of time to file a brief will ordinarily not be granted except for good cause shown. A motion for extension of time to file a brief shall be filed at the Commission no later than 3 days prior to the expiration of the time limit prescribed in paragraph (b) of this section, shall comply with §2200.40 and shall include the following information: when the brief is due, the number and duration of extensions of time that have been granted to each party, the length of extension being requested, the specific reason for the extension being requested, and an assurance that the brief will be filed within the time extension requested.

(d) Consequences of failure to timely file brief. The Commission may decline to accept a brief that is not timely filed. If a petitioning party fails to respond to a briefing notice or expresses no interest in review, the Commission may vacate the direction for review, or it may decide the case without that party's brief. If the non-petitioning party fails to respond to a briefing notice or expresses no interest in review, the Commission may decide the case without that party's brief. If a case was directed for review upon a Commissioner's own motion, and any party fails to respond to the briefing notice, the Commission may either vacate the direction for review or decide the case without briefs.

(e) Length of brief. Except by permission of the Commission, a main brief, including briefs and legal memoranda it incorporates by reference, shall contain no more than 35 pages of text. A reply brief, including briefs and legal memoranda it incorporates by reference, shall contain no more than 20 pages of text.

(f) Table of contents. A brief in excess of 15 pages shall include a table of contents.

(g) Failure to meet requirements. The Commission may return briefs that do not meet the requirements of paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section.

(h) Brief of an amicus curiae. The Commission may allow a brief of an amicus curiae pursuant to the criteria of §2200.24. Any brief of an amicus curiae must meet the requirements of paragraphs (b)-(g) of this section. No reply brief of an amicus curiae will be received.

§2200.94 Stay of final order.

(a) Who may file. Any party aggrieved by a final order of the Commission may, while the matter is within the jurisdiction of the Commission, file a motion for a stay.

(b) Contents of motion. Such motion shall set forth the reasons a stay is sought and the length of the stay requested.

(c) Ruling on motion. The Commission may order such stay for the period requested or for such longer or shorter period as it deems appropriate.

§2200.95 Oral argument before the Commission.

(a) When ordered. Upon motion of any party, or upon its own motion, the Commission may order oral argument. Parties requesting oral argument must demonstrate why oral argument would facilitate resolution of the issues before the Commission. Normally, motions for oral argument shall not be considered until after all briefs have been filed.

(b) Notice of argument. The Executive Secretary shall advise all parties whether oral argument is to be heard. Within a reasonable time before the oral argument is scheduled, the Executive Secretary shall inform the parties of the time and place therefor, the issues to be heard, and the time allotted to the parties.

(c) Postponement.

(1) Except under extraordinary circumstances, a request for postponement must be filed at least 7 days before oral argument is scheduled.

(2) The Executive Secretary shall notify the parties of a postponement in a manner best calculated to avoid unnecessary travel or inconvenience to the parties. The Executive Secretary shall inform all parties of the new time and place for the oral argument.

(d) Order and content of argument.

(1) Counsel shall be afforded such time for oral argument as the Commission may provide by order. Requests for enlargement of time may be made by motion filed reasonably in advance of the date fixed for the argument.

(2) The petitioning party shall argue first. If the case is before the Commission on cross-petitions, the Commission will inform the parties in advance of the order of appearance.

(3) Counsel are expected to cover all anticipated issues in their arguments in chief. Therefore, rebuttal will normally not be allowed. Should unexpected matters arise, the Commission, in its discretion, may give counsel additional time.

(4) Oral argument should undertake to emphasize and clarify the written arguments appearing in the briefs. The Commission will look with disfavor on any oral argument that is read from a previously filed document.

(5) At any time, the Commission may terminate a party's argument or interrupt the party's presentation for questioning by the Commissioners.

(e) Failure to appear. Should either party fail to appear for oral argument, the party present may be allowed to proceed with its argument.

(f) Consolidated cases. Where two or more consolidated cases are scheduled for oral argument, the consolidated cases shall be considered as one case for the purpose of allotting time to the parties unless the Commission otherwise directs.

(g) Multiple Counsel. Where more than one counsel argues for a party to the case or for multiple parties on the same side in the case, it is counsels' responsibility to agree upon a fair division of the total time allotted. In the event of a failure to agree, the Commission will allocate the time. The Commission may, in its discretion, limit the number of counsel heard for each party or side in the argument. No later than 3 days prior to the date of scheduled argument, the Commission must be notified of the names of the counsel who will argue.

(h) Exhibits/Visual Aids.

(1) The parties may use models, specimens, samples, charts or exhibits introduced into evidence at the hearing. If a party wishes to use a visual aid not part of the record, written notice of the proposed use shall be given to opposing counsel 15 days prior to the argument. Objections, if any, shall be in writing, served on all adverse parties, and filed not fewer than 5 days before the argument.

(2) No visual aid shall introduce or rely upon facts or evidence not already part of the record.

(3) If visual aids or exhibits other than documents are to be used at the argument, counsel shall arrange with the Executive Secretary to have them placed in the hearing room on the date of the argument before the Commission convenes.

(4) Parties using visual aids not introduced into evidence shall have them removed from the hearing room unless the Commission directs otherwise. If such visual aids are not reclaimed by the party within a reasonable time after notice is given by the Executive Secretary, such visual aids shall be disposed of at the discretion of the Executive Secretary.

(i) Recording oral argument.

(1) Unless the Commission directs otherwise, oral arguments shall be electronically recorded and made part of the record. Any other sound recording in the hearing room is prohibited. Oral arguments shall also be transcribed verbatim. A copy of the transcript of the oral argument taken by a qualified court reporter, shall be filed with the Commission. The Commission shall bear all expenses for court reporters' fees and for copies of the hearing transcript received by it.

(2) Persons desiring to listen to the recordings shall make appropriate arrangements with the Executive Secretary. Any party desiring a written copy of the transcript is responsible for securing and paying for its copy.

(3) Error in the transcript of the oral argument may be corrected by the Commission on its own motion, on joint motion by the parties, or on motion by any party. The motion shall state the error in the transcript and the correction to be made. Corrections will be made by hand with pen and ink and by the appending of an errata sheet.

(j) Failure to file brief. A party who fails to file a brief shall not be heard at the time of oral argument except by permission of the Commission.

(k) Participation in oral argument by amicus curiae.

(1) An amicus curiae will not be permitted to participate in the oral argument without leave of the Commission upon proper motion.

(2) A motion by amicus curiae seeking leave to participate in oral argument shall be filed no later than 14 days prior to the date oral argument is scheduled.

(3) The motion of an amicus curiae for leave to participate at oral argument shall identify the interest of the applicant and shall state the reason(s) why its participation at oral argument is desirable.

(4) Motions in opposition to the motion of an amicus curiae for leave to participate in the oral argument must be filed within 7 days of the date of the motion.

§2200.96 Commission receipt pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2112(a)(1) of copies of petitions for judicial review of Commission orders when petitions for review are filed in two or more courts of appeals with respect to the same order.

The Commission officer and office designated to receive, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2112(a)(1), copies of petitions for review of Commission orders, from the persons instituting the review proceedings in a court of appeals, are the Executive Secretary and the Office of the Executive Secretary at the Commission's Office, One Lafayette Centre, 1120 20th Street, N.W., Suite 980, Washington, DC 20036-3457. Five copies of the petition shall be submitted pursuant to this section. Each copy shall state that it is being submitted to the Commission pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2112 by the persons or person who filed the petition in the court of appeals and shall be stamped by the court with the date of filing.

Last Updated: January 19, 2010

Green Rule

Home | About OSHRC | Procedural Rules | Decisions | Strategic Plan | Performance Report | Budget | Publications
Press Releases | FOIA | Related Websites | Disclaimer | OSH Act | EEO Stats | Job Opportunities | Info Quality