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there is adequate evidence to believe that a person is liable under $25.3, the reviewing official shall transmit to the Attorney General a written notice of the reviewing official’s intention to issue a complaint under §25.7. (b) Such notice shall include— (1) A statement of the reviewing Official’s reasons for issuing a complaint; (2) A statement Specifying the evidence that supports the allegations of liability; (3) A description of the claims or statements upon which the allegations of liability are based; (4) An estimate of the amount of money, or the value of property, Services, or other benefits, requested or demanded in violation of $25.3 of this part; (5) A statement of any exculpatory or mitigating circumstances that may relate to the claims or statements known by the reviewing official or the investigating official; and (6) A statement that there is a reasonable prospect of collecting an appropriate amount of penalties and assessments. Such a Statement may be based upon information then known or an absence of any information indicating that the person may be unable to pay Such an amount.

$25.6 Prerequisites for issuing a complaint.

(a) The reviewing official may issue a Complaint under § 25.7 Only if— (1) The Department of Justice approved the issuance of a complaint in a written statement described in 31 U.S.C. 3803(b)(1), and (2) In the case of allegations of liability under $25.3(a) with respect to a claim, the reviewing official determines that, with respect to Such claim or a group of related claims submitted at the same time such claim is Submitted (as defined in paragraph (b) of this section), the amount of money, or the value of property or services, demanded or requested in violation of $25.3(a) does not exceed $150,000. (b) For the purposes of this section, a related group of claims submitted at the same time shall include Only those claims arising from the Same transaction (e.g., grant, loan, application, or contract) that are submitted simulta

neously as part of a single request, demand, Or Submission. (c) Nothing in this section shall be Construed to limit the reviewing offiCial's authority to join in a single complaint against a person claims that are unrelated or were not submitted simultaneously, regardless of the amount of money, or the value of property or Services, demanded or requested.

$25.7 Complaint.

(a) On or after the date the Department of Justice approves the issuance of a complaint in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3803(b)(1), the reviewing official may serve a complaint on the respondent, as provided in $25.8. (b) The Complaint shall State— (1) The allegations Of liability against the respondent, including the statutory basis for liability, an identification Of the Claims Or Statements that are the basis for the alleged liability, and the reasons why liability allegedly arises from Such claims or Statement S; (2) The maximum annount of penalties and assessments for which the respondent may be held liable; (3) Instructions for filing an answer to request a hearing, including a speCific Statement Of the respondent’s right to request a hearing by filing an answer and to be represented by a representative; and (4) That failure to file an answer within 30 days of service of the Complaint will result in the imposition of the maximum amount of penalties and assessments without right to appeal. (c) At the same time the reviewing official serves the complaint, he or she shall serve the respondent with a copy Of these regulations.

$25.8 Service of complaint.

(a) Service of a complaint must be made by Certified or registered mail or by delivery in any manner authorized by Rule 4(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(b) Proof of service, stating the name and address of the person on whom the complaint was served, and the manner and date of service, may be made by

(1) Affidavit of the individual making Service;

(2) An acknowledged United States Postal Service return receipt Card; or

(3) Written acknowledgment of the respondent or his or her representative.

$25.9 Answer.

(a) The respondent may request a hearing by filing an answer with the reviewing official within 30 days of Service of the complaint. An answer Shall be deemed to be a request for hearing. (b) In the answer, the respondent— (1) Shall admit or deny each of the allegations of liability made in the Complaint; (2) Shall State any defense on which the respondent intends to rely; (3) May state any reasons why the respondent contends that the penalties and assessments should be less than the statutory maximum; and (4) Shall state the name, address, and telephone number of the person authorized by the respondent to act as reSpondent’s representative, if any.

$25.10 Default upon failure to file an 3|INSWe]",

(a) If the respondent does not file an answer within the time prescribed in $25.9(a), the reviewing Official may refer the complaint to the ALJ along with the proof of service, as provided in $25.8(b). (b) Upon the referral of the complaint, the ALJ shall promptly serve On the respondent in the manner prescribed in $25.8, a notice that an initial decision will be issued under this Section. (c) The ALJ shall assume the facts alleged in the complaint to be true and, if such facts establish liability under $25.3, the ALJ shall issue an initial deCision inposing the maximum amount of penalties and assessments allowed under the Statute. (d) Except as otherwise provided in this section, by failing to file a timely answer, the respondent waives any right to further review of the penalties and assessments imposed under paragraph (c) of this section, and the initial decision shall become final binding upon the parties 30 days after it is issued. (e) If, before such an initial decision becomes final, the respondent files mo

tion with the ALJ Seeking to reopen. On the grounds that extraordinary cirCumstances prevented the respondent from filing an answer, the initial deciSion shall be stayed pending the ALJ's decision on the motion. (f) If, on such motion, the respondent can demonstrate extraordinary circumstances excusing the failure to file a timely answer, the ALJ shall withdraw the initial decision in paragraph (C) Of this Section, if Such a decision has been issued, and shall grant the reSpondent an opportunity to answer the Complaint. (g) A decision of the ALJ denying a respondent’s motion under paragraph (e) of this section is not subject to reConsideration under $25.38. (h) The respondent may appeal to the authority head the decision denying a motion to reopen by filing a notice of appeal with the authority head within 15 days after the ALJ denies the motion. The timely filing of a notice of appeal shall stay the initial decision until the authority head decides the iSSue. (i) If the respondent files a timely notice of appeal with the authority head, the ALJ shall forward the record of the proceeding to the authority head. (j) The authority head shall decide expeditiously whether extraordinary circumstances excuse the respondent’s failure to file a timely answer based Solely On the record before the ALJ. (k) If the authority head decides that extraordinary Circumstances excused the respondent’s failure to file a timely answer, the authority head shall remand the case of the ALJ with instructions to grant the respondent an opportunity to answer. (1) If the authority head decides that the respondent’s failure to file a timely answer is not excused, the authority head shall reinstate the initial decision Of the ALJ, which shall become final and binding upon the parties 30 days after the authority head issues such deCision.

$25.11 Referral of complaint and answer to the ALJ.

Upon receipt of an answer, the reviewing official shall file the complaint and answer with the ALJ.

$25.12 Notice of hearing.

(a) When the ALJ receives the complaint and answer, the ALJ shall promptly serve a notice of hearing upon the respondent in the manner prescribed by §25.8. At the same time, the ALJ shall send a copy of Such notice to the representative for the Government. (b) Such notice shall include— (1) The tentative time and place, and the nature of the hearing; (2) The legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held; (3) The matters of fact and law to be asserted; (4) A description of the procedures for the conduct of the hearing; (5) The name, address, and telephone number of the representative Of the Government, and Of the respondent, if any; and (6) Such other matters as the ALJ deems appropriate.

$25.13 Parties to the hearing.

(a) The parties to the hearing shall be the respondent and the authority.

(b) Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3730(c)(5), a private plaintiff under the False Claims Act may participate in these proceedings to the extent authorized by the provisions of that Act.

$25.14 Separation of functions.

(a) The investigating official, the reViewing Official, and any employee or agent of the authority who takes part in investigating, preparing, or presenting a particular case may not, in such Case or a factually related case— (1) Participate in the hearing as the ALJ; (2) Participate or advise in the initial decision or the review of the initial deCision by the authority head, except as a witness or a representative in public proceedings; or (3) Make the collection of penalties and assessments under 31 U.S.C. 3806. (b) The ALJ shall not be responsible to, or Subject to the supervision or direction of, the investigating official or the reviewing official. (c) The reviewing official shall, after Consulting with the Inspector General, designate the representative for the Government, who shall be an attorney with either the Office of General Coun

Sel or the Office of the Inspector General. The reviewing official’s decision is final.

$25.15 Ex parte contacts.

No party or person (except employees of the ALJ's office) shall communicate in any way with the ALJ on any matter at issue in a Case, unless on notice and Opportunity for all parties to participate. This provision does not prohibit a person or party from inquiring about the status of a case or asking routine questions concerning administrative functions or procedures.

$25.16. Disqualification of reviewing official or ALJ.

(a) A reviewing official or ALJ in a particular case may disqualify himself or herself at any time. (b) A party may file with the ALJ a motion for disqualification of a reviewing Official or an ALJ. Such motion shall be accompanied by an affidavit alleging personal bias or other reason for disqualification. (c) Such motion and affidavit shall be filed promptly upon the party’s discovery of reasons requiring disqualification, or such objections shall be deemed waived. (d) Such affidavit shall state specific facts that support the party’s belief that personal bias or other reason for disqualification exists and the time and Circumstances of the party’s disCovery of Such facts. It shall be accompanied by a certificate of the representative of record that it is made in good faith. (e) Upon the filing of Such a motion and affidavit, the ALJ shall proceed no further in the Case until he or she reSolves the matter of disqualification in accordance with paragraph (f) of this Section. (f)(1) If the ALJ determines that a reviewing Official is disqualified, the ALJ shall dismiss the complaint without prejudice. (2) If the ALJ disqualifies himself or herself, the case shall be reassigned promptly to another ALJ. (3) If the ALJ denies a motion to disqualify, the authority head may determine the matter only as part of his or her review of the initial decision upon appeal, if any.

$25.17 Rights of parties.

Except as otherwise limited by this part, all parties may— (a) Be accompanied, represented, and advised by a representative; (b) Participate in any conference held by the ALJ; (c) Conduct discovery; (d) Agree to stipulations of fact or law, which shall be made part of the record; (e) Present evidence relevant to the issues at the hearing; (f) Present and CrOSS-examine wit– neSSes; (g) Present oral arguments at the hearing as permitted by the ALJ; and (h) Submit written briefs and proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law after the hearing.

$25.18 Authority of the ALJ.

(a) The ALJ shall conduct a fair and impartial hearing, avoid delay, maintain order, and assure that a record of the proceeding is made. (b) The ALJ has the authority to— (1) Set and change the date, time, and place of the hearing upon reasonable notice to the parties; (2) Continue or recess the hearing in whole Or in part for a reasonable period of time; (3) Hold conferences to identify or simplify the issues, or to consider Other matters that may aid in the expeditious disposition of the proceeding; (4) Administer oaths and affirmations; (5) Issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents at depositions or at hearings; (6) Rule on motions and other procedural matters; (7) Regulate the scope and timing of discovery; (8) Regulate the course of the hearing and the conduct of representatives and parties; (9) Examine witnesses; (10) Receive, rule on, exclude, or limit evidence; (11) Upon motion of a party, take of ficial notice of facts; (12) Upon motion of a party, decide cases, in whole or in part, by Summary judgment where there is no disputed issue of material fact;

(13) Conduct any conference, argument, or hearing on motions in person Or by telephone; and

(14) Exercise such other authority as is necessary to Carry out the responsibilities of the ALJ under this part.

(c) The ALJ does not have the authority to find Federal statutes or regulations invalid.

$25.19 Prehearing conferences.

(a) The ALJ may schedule prehearing Conferences as appropriate. (b) Upon the motion of any party, the ALJ shall Schedule at least one prehearing Conference at a reasonable time in advance of the hearing. (c) The ALJ may use prehearing conferences to discuss the following: (1) Simplification of the issues; (2) The necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings, including the need for a more definite statement; (3) Stipulations and admissions of fact or as to the contents and authenticity of documents; (4) Whether the parties can agree to Submission of the case on a stipulated record; (5) Whether a party chooses to waive appearance at an Oral hearing and to submit only documentary evidence (Subject to the objection of other parties) and written argument; (6) Limitation of the number of witneSSes; (7) Scheduling dates for the exchange of witness lists and of proposed exhibitS; (8) Discovery; (9) The time and place for the hearing; and (10) Such other matters as may tend to expedite the fair and just disposition of the proceedings. (d) The ALJ may issue an Order containing all matters agreed upon by the parties or ordered by the ALJ at a prehearing Conference.

$25.20 Disclosure of documents.

(a) Upon written request to the reViewing official, the respondent may review any relevant and material documents, transcripts, records, and Other materials that related to the allegations set out in the complaint and upon which the findings and conclusions of

the investigating official under $25.4(b) are based, unless such documents are subject to a privilege under Federal law. Upon payment of fees for duplication, the respondent may obtain Copies of such document.S. (b) Upon written request to the reviewing official, the respondent also may obtain a copy of all exculpatory information in the possession of the reviewing official or investigating official relating to the allegations in the complaint, even if it is contained in a document that would otherwise be privileged. If the document would otherwise be privileged, only that portion containing exculpatory information must be disclosed. (c) The notice sent to the Attorney General from the reviewing official as described in $25.5 is not discoverable under any circumstances. (d) The respondents may file a motion to compel dosclosure of the documents subject to the provisions of this section. Such a motion may Only be filed with the ALJ following the filing of an answer pursuant to $25.9.

§ 25.21 Discovery.

(a) The following types of discovery are authorized: (1) Requests for production of documents for inspection and copying; (2) Requests for admissions of the authenticity of any relevant document or of the truth of any relevant fact; (3) Written interrogatories; and (4) Depositions. (b) For the purpose of this section and §§25.22 and 25.23, the term “documents” includes information, documents, reports, answers, records, a Ccounts, papers, and other data and documentary evidence. Nothing contained herein shall be interpreted to require the creation of a document. (c) Unless mutually agreed to by the parties, discovery is available only as Ordered by the ALJ. The ALJ shall regulate the timing of discovery. (d) Motions for discovery. (1) A party seeking discovery may file a motion with the ALJ. Such a motion shall be accompanied by a copy of the requested discovery, or in the case of depositions, a summary of the scope of the proposed deposition.

(2) Within two days of service, a party may file an opposition to the motion and/or a motion for protective order as provided in $25.34. (3) The ALJ may grant a motion for discovery Only if he or she finds that the discovery sought— (i) Is necessary for the expeditious, fair, and reasonable consideration of the issues; (ii) Is not unduly Costly or burdenSOme; (iii) Will not unduly delay the proceeding; and (iv) Does not seek privileged information. (4) The burden of showing that disCovery should be allowed is On the party seeking discovery. (5) The ALJ may grant discovery subject to a protective order under §25.24. (e) Depositions. (1) If a motion for deposition is granted, the ALJ shall issue a subpoena, for the deponent, which may require the deponent to produce documents. The subpoena shall Specify the time and place at which the deposition will be held. (2) The party seeking to depose shall serve the subpoena in the manner prescribed in $25.8. (3) The deponent may file with the ALJ a motion to quash the Subpoena or a motion for a protective order within ten days Of Service. (4) The party seeking to depose shall provide for the taking of a verbatim transcript of the deposition, which it shall make available to all other parties for inspection and Copying. (f) Each party shall bear its Own costs of discovery.

$25.22 Exchange of witness lists, statements, and exhibits.

(a) At least 15 days before the hearing or at Such other time as may be Ordered by the ALJ, the parties shall exchange witness lists, copies of prior statements of proposed witnesses, and copies of proposed hearing exhibits, including copies of any Written Statements that the party intends to offer in lieu of live testimony in accordance with $25.33(b). At the time the above documents are exchanged, any party that intends to rely on the transcript of deposition testimony in lieu of live testimony at the hearing, if permitted

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