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Case Information

Part IV - Discovery and Hearing Preparation Procedures

5 VAC 5-20-240. Prepared testimony and exhibits.

Following the filing of an application dependent upon complicated or technical proof, the commission may direct the applicant to prepare and file the testimony and exhibits by which the applicant expects to establish its case. In all proceedings in which an applicant is required to file testimony, respondents shall be permitted and may be directed by the commission or hearing examiner to file, on or before a date certain, testimony and exhibits by which they expect to establish their case. Any respondent that chooses not to file testimony and exhibits by that date may not thereafter present testimony or exhibits except by leave of the commission, but may otherwise fully participate in the proceeding and engage in cross-examination of the testimony and exhibits of commission staff and other parties. The commission staff also shall file testimony and exhibits when directed to do so by the commission. Failure to comply with the directions of the commission, without good cause shown, may result in rejection of the testimony and exhibits by the commission. With leave of the commission and unless a timely objection is made, the commission staff or a party may correct or supplement any prepared testimony and exhibits before or during the hearing. In all proceedings, all evidence must be verified by the witness before introduction into the record, and the admissibility of the evidence shall be subject to the same standards as if the testimony were offered orally at hearing, unless, with the consent of the commission, the staff and all parties stipulate the introduction of testimony without need for verification. An original and 15 copies of prepared testimony and exhibits shall be filed unless otherwise specified in the commission's scheduling order and public notice, or unless the testimony and exhibits are filed electronically and otherwise comply with these rules. Documents of unusual bulk or weight and physical exhibits other than documents need not be filed in advance, but shall be described and made available for pretrial examination.

5 VAC 5-20-250. Process, witnesses, and production of documents and things.

A. Subpoenas. Commission staff and any party to a proceeding shall be entitled to process, to convene parties, to compel the attendance of witnesses, and to compel the production of books, papers, documents, or things provided in this rule.

B. Commission issuance and enforcement of other regulatory agency subpoenas. Upon motion by commission staff counsel, the commission may issue and enforce subpoenas at the request of a regulatory agency of another jurisdiction if the activity for which the information is sought by the other agency, if occurring in the Commonwealth, would be a violation of the laws of the Commonwealth that are administered by the commission. A motion requesting the issuance of a commission subpoena shall include:

1. A copy of the original subpoena issued by the regulatory agency to the named defendant;

2. An affidavit of the requesting agency administrator stating the basis for the issuance of the subpoena under that state's laws; and

3. A memorandum from the commission's corresponding division director providing the basis for the issuance of the commission subpoena.

C. Document subpoenas. In a pending proceeding, at the request of commission staff or any party, the Clerk of the Commission shall issue a subpoena. When a matter is under investigation by commission staff, before a formal proceeding has been established, whenever it appears to the commission by affidavit filed with the Clerk of the Commission by the commission staff or an individual, that a book, writing, document, or thing sufficiently described in the affidavit, is in the possession, or under the control, of an identified person and is material and proper to be produced, the commission may order the Clerk of the Commission to issue a subpoena and to have the subpoena duly served, together with an attested copy of the commission's order compelling production at a reasonable place and time as described in the commission's order.

D. Witness subpoenas. In a pending proceeding, at the request of commission staff or any party, the Clerk of the Commission shall issue a subpoena.

5 VAC 5-20-260. Interrogatories or requests for production of documents and things.

The commission staff and any party in a formal proceeding before the commission, other than a proceeding under 5VAC5-20-100 A, may serve written interrogatories or requests for production of documents upon a party, to be answered by the party served, or if the party served is an entity, by an officer or agent of the entity, who shall furnish to the staff or requesting party information as is known. Interrogatories or requests for production of documents, including workpapers pursuant to 5VAC5-20-270, that cannot be timely answered before the scheduled hearing date may be served only with leave of the commission for good cause shown and upon such conditions as the commission may prescribe. Such otherwise untimely interrogatories or requests for production of documents, including workpapers pursuant to 5VAC5-20-270, may not be served until such leave is granted. Interrogatories or requests for production of documents may be served upon a member of the commission staff, or an expert or consultant filing testimony on behalf of the commission staff, in a proceeding under 5 VAC 5-20-80 to discover: (i) factual information that supports the workpapers submitted by the staff pursuant to 5VAC5-20-270, including electronic spreadsheets that include underlying formulas and assumptions; (ii) any other documents relied upon as a basis for recommendations or assertions in prefiled testimony, staff reports or exhibits filed by staff, or by an expert or consultant filing testimony on behalf of the staff; or (iii) the identity of other formal proceedings in which an expert or consultant filing testimony on behalf of the staff testified regarding the same or a substantially similar subject matter. The disclosure of communications within the commission shall not be required and, except for good cause shown, no interrogatories or requests for production of documents may be served upon a member of the commission staff, or an expert or consultant filing testimony on behalf of the staff, prior to the filing of staff's testimony. All interrogatories and requests for production of documents shall be filed with the Clerk of the Commission. Responses to interrogatories and requests for production of documents shall not be filed with the Clerk of the Commission.

The response to each interrogatory or document request shall identify by name the person making the response. Any objection to an interrogatory or document request shall identify the interrogatory or document request to which the objection is raised, and shall state with specificity the basis and supporting legal theory for the objection. Objections shall be served with the list of responses or in such manner as the commission may designate by order. Responses and objections to interrogatories or requests for production of documents shall be served within 10 days of receipt, unless otherwise ordered by the commission. Upon motion promptly made and accompanied by a copy of the interrogatory or document request and the response or objection that is subject to the motion, the commission will rule upon the validity of the objection; the objection otherwise will be considered sustained.

Interrogatories or requests for production of documents may relate to any matter not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things, and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of evidentiary value. It is not grounds for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible at the hearing if the information appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

Where the response to an interrogatory or document request may only be derived or ascertained from the business records of the party questioned, from an examination, audit, or inspection of business records, or from a compilation, abstract, or summary of business records, and the burden of deriving or ascertaining the response is substantially the same for one entity as for the other, a response is sufficient if it (i) identifies by name and location all records from which the response may be derived or ascertained; and (ii) tenders to the inquiring party reasonable opportunity to examine, audit, or inspect the records subject to objection as to their proprietary or confidential nature. The inquiring party bears the expense of making copies, compilations, abstracts, or summaries.

5 VAC 5-20-270. Hearing preparation.

In a formal proceeding, a party or the commission staff may serve on a party a request to examine the workpapers supporting the testimony or exhibits of a witness whose prepared testimony has been filed in accordance with 5 VAC 5-20-240. The movant may request abstracts or summaries of the workpapers, and may request copies of the workpapers upon payment of the reasonable cost of duplication or reproduction. Copies requested by the commission staff shall be furnished without payment of copying costs. In actions pursuant to 5 VAC 5-20-80 A, the commission staff shall, upon the filing of its testimony, exhibits, or report, provide (in either paper or electronic format) a copy of any workpapers that support the recommendations made in its testimony or report to any party upon request and may additionally file a copy of such workpapers with the Clerk of the Commission. The Clerk of the Commission shall make any filed workpapers available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours.

5 VAC 5-20-280. Discovery in 5 VAC-5-20-90 proceedings.

This rule applies only to a proceeding in which a defendant is subject to a monetary penalty or injunction, or revocation, cancellation, or curtailment of a license, certificate of authority, registration, or similar authority previously issued by the commission to the defendant:

1. Discovery of material in possession of the commission staff. Upon written motion of the defendant, the commission shall permit the defendant to inspect and, at the defendant's expense, copy or photograph (exclusive of investigative notes): (i) any relevant written or recorded statements, the existence of which is known, after reasonable inquiry, by the commission staff counsel assigned to the matter to be within the custody, possession, or control of commission staff, made by (a) the defendant, or representatives or agents of the defendant if the defendant is other than an individual, or (b) any witness whom the commission staff intends, or does not intend, to call to testify at the hearing, to a commission staff member or law enforcement officer; (ii) designated books, tangible objects, papers, documents, or copies or portions thereof, that are within the custody, possession, or control of commission staff and that commission staff intends to introduce into evidence at the hearing or that the commission staff obtained for the purpose of the instant proceeding; and (iii) the list of the witnesses that commission staff intends to call to testify at the hearing. Upon good cause shown to protect the identity of persons not named as a defendant, the commission or hearing examiner may direct the commission staff to withhold disclosure of material requested under this rule. The term "statement" as used in relation to any witness (other than a defendant) described in clause (i) of this subdivision includes a written statement made by said witness and signed or otherwise adopted or approved by him, and verbatim transcriptions or recordings of a witness' statement that are made contemporaneously with the statement by the witness.

A motion by the defendant or staff under this rule shall be filed and served at least 30 days before the hearing date. The motion shall include all relief sought. A subsequent motion may be made only upon a showing of cause as to why the motion would be in the interest of justice. An order or ruling granting relief under this rule shall specify the time, place, and manner of making discovery and inspection permitted, and may prescribe such terms and conditions as the commission may determine.

Upon written motion of the commission staff, staff may also obtain the list of witnesses that the defendant intends to call to testify at the hearing, and inspect, copy, and photograph, at commission staff's expense, the evidence that the defendant intends to introduce into evidence at the hearing.

The commission staff and the defendant shall be required to produce the information described above as directed by the commission or hearing examiner, but not later than 10 days prior to the scheduled hearing; and the admission of any additional evidence not provided in accordance herewith shall not be denied solely on the basis that it was not produced timely, provided the additional evidence was produced to commission staff or the defendant as soon as practicable prior to the hearing, or prior to the introduction of such evidence at the hearing. The requirement to produce the information described in this section shall be in addition to any requirement by commission staff or the defendant to timely respond to an interrogatory or document request made pursuant to 5VAC5-20-260.

Nothing in this rule shall require the disclosure of any information, the disclosure of which is prohibited by statute or other legal privilege. The disclosure of the results of a commission staff investigation or work product of commission staff counsel shall not be required.

2. Depositions. After commencement of a proceeding to which this rule applies, the commission staff or a party may take the testimony of (i) a party, or (ii) a person not a party for good cause shown to the commission or hearing examiner, other than a member of the commission staff, by deposition on oral examination or by written questions. Depositions may be used for any purpose for which they may be used in the courts of record of the Commonwealth. Except where the commission or hearing examiner finds that an emergency exists, no deposition may be taken later than 10 days in advance of the formal hearing. The attendance of witnesses at depositions may be compelled by subpoena. Examination and cross-examination of the witness shall be as at hearing. Depositions may be taken in the City of Richmond or in the town, city, or county in which the deposed person resides, is employed, or does business. The parties and the commission staff, by agreement, may designate another place for the taking of the deposition. Reasonable notice of the intent to take a deposition must be given in writing to the commission staff counsel and to each party to the action, stating the time and place where the deposition is to be taken. A deposition may be taken before any person (the "officer") authorized to administer oaths by the laws of the jurisdiction in which the deposition is to be taken. The officer shall certify his authorization in writing, administer the oath to the deponent, record or cause to be recorded the testimony given, and note any objections raised. In lieu of participating in the oral examination, a party or the commission staff may deliver sealed written questions to the officer, who shall propound the questions to the witness. The officer may terminate the deposition if convinced that the examination is being conducted in bad faith or in an unreasonable manner. Costs of the deposition shall be borne by the party noticing the deposition, unless otherwise ordered by the commission.

3. Requests for admissions. The commission staff or a party to a proceeding may serve upon a party written requests for admission. Each matter on which an admission is requested shall be stated separately. A matter shall be deemed admitted unless within 21 days of the service of the request, or some other period the commission may designate, the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the requesting party a written answer addressing or objecting to the request. The response shall set forth in specific terms a denial of the matter set forth or an explanation as to the reasons the responding party cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter set forth. Requests for admission shall be filed with the Clerk of the Commission and simultaneously served on commission staff counsel and on all parties to the proceeding.

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