Other Fields
Agency Scheme: 
Hearing Level: Basic Structure
Name of Hearing Office (local name): 
Name of Hearing Office (global name): 
Surface Transportation Board: Board
Hearing Officer #1 (Title): 
Board Members
Hearing Officer #2 (Title): 
Director, Office of Proceedings
Are administrative appeals permitted from final decisions at the hearing-level stage?: 
Yes (Some Types of Cases)
Comments/Notes on Adjudication Structure: 

Administrative proceedings to resolve disputes and other matters relating to rate, service, restructuring, financial, and/or operational matters are separated into three general areas: rail; motor and water; and pipelines. (See 49 CFR Parts 1111 - 1114.) While the Board adjudicates a variety of matters, rail-related cases comprise most of the Board's caseload. Matters adjudicated are often highly technical and complex, involving detailed economic and rate analyses. Many matters come to the Board through applications by private parties for licenses, approval, or exemptions, and by complaints filed by the general public. The Board also initiates some matters through its own investigation. The Board has an extensive ADR program.

Under 49 CFR Part 1115, the Board's rules provide for petitions to reopen, petitions for reconsideration, and other appeals of Board decisions, which, under certain circumstances, allow parties to appeal decisions of the Board. For example, a petition for reopening of administratively final actions must demonstrate material error, new evidence, or substantially changed circumstances.

PROCESS & PROCEDURE - General Information
Are private parties permitted to have representation at hearings?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Who may serve as a private party representative?: 
About what percentage of private parties were represented at hearings (FY2013)?: 
Is the agency permitted to have representation at hearings?: 
N/A (e.g., Agency Not Party to Hearing)
Regulations/rules of practice for hearings (please include CFR citations): 
49 CFR Parts 1111-1114
Other published guidance for hearings (if any): 
STB Public Primer (available on agency website)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Pre-Hearing Procedure
Is discovery permitted by either party at the hearing-level stage?: 
Yes (Some Types of Cases)
Briefly describe the scope and type(s) of discovery available (e.g., depositions, interrogatories, etc.): 
Oral Argument Cases (Parts 1113 & 1114): In formal cases on the oral argument track, discovery is available as of right. The discovery in these cases is akin to that allowed in federal district court (e.g., depositions, requests for production of documents, admissions, and inspection, interrogatories). Modified Procedures Cases (Part 1112): Most of the Board's cases are adjudicated under "modified procedures." In these cases (which are the majority of the cases before the Board), the Board may order discovery upon its own authority or upon approval of a party's request (i.e., rate cases under modified procedures).
Does the hearing officer have subpoena authority?: 
Yes (Some Types of Cases)
Are ex parte contacts prohibited?: 
Yes (Some Types of Cases)
Are parties provided notice of hearing?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
How far in advance of the hearing date is notice typically provided?: 
30 Days
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Hearing Procedure
What types of hearings are permitted at the hearing-level stage?: 
Written (Document-Only) Hearing
Please provide the approximate percentage of each type of hearing relative to the total number of hearings (FY2013)
Written (Document-Only) Hearing: 
How is the type of hearing selected: 
By Agency
By Private Party
Depends on Nature of Case/Claim
Please describe: 
Cases assigned to the "modified procedures" track -- either at the request of the parties or order of the Board -- generally have "paper" hearings only. A party may request oral argument or cross-examination. However, oral hearings are disfavored under the modified procedures and will only be granted when there are material issues. (See 49 CFR Part 1112.) For formal matters on the oral argument track, there may be formal evidentiary hearings, as well as oral argument at the conclusion of the hearing. (See 49 CFR Part 1113.)
How many hearing officers preside at each hearing?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
If the hearing is before the entire Board, it is before the three Board Members. Some proceedings are delegated to the Director of the Office of Proceedings, so will only have one officer. Finally, some procedures are handled by the Chairman alone.
Is witness testimony permitted at hearings?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Generally, witness testimony is allowed. For cases on the oral argument track, witness testimony is permitted. Cases on the modified procedures track are generally "paper" hearings, and witnesses provide their testimony in writing. However, parties rarely provide witness testimony in "notice" proceedings. These "notice" proceedings only require parties to file certain information and a Federal Register notice is published by the Board and authority is automatically granted. Usually, if witness testimony is required, then the "notice" proceeding is not appropriate.
Can parties cross-examine witnesses?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Oral cross-examination of witnesses is rare. It might occur in proceedings in which the Board used an ALJ, but that has not been done in a number of years. Under modified procedures, cross-examination is essentially allowed as response, reply, or rebuttal by written testimony, correcting or deriding other testimony.
Can third-parties submit amicus briefs and/or evidence?: 
Adjudication Officer Discretion
Are hearings recorded and/or transcribed?: 
Discretion of Adjudication Officer(s)
N/A (Document-Only Hearings)
Are hearings open to the public?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Oral hearings are open to the public. Document-only proceedings are not open due to their nature under modified procedures, but all of the pleadings are posted on the Board's website and available to the public (except when allowed to be redacted under the Board's regulations as confidential or highly confidential).
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Post-Hearing Procedure
Who typically drafts the decision at the hearing-level stage?: 
Staff Attorney
If "Other," please specify (drafts): 
STB's Office of Proceedings assists and supports the Board's adjudicatory functions. To this end, attorneys in the Office of Proceedings help develop the public record in formal cases (or proceedings), make recommendations regarding the resolution of issues, and prepare draft decisions, which are reviewed, adjusted, and voted upon by the Board.
Who has authority to issue final decisions?: 
Adjudication Officer
Do agency regulations or guidance provide time limits for issuance of final decisions?: 
Yes (Some Types of Cases)
If "Yes," please specify these time limit(s): 
There are certain proceedings that have time limits. For example, some abandonment and merger decisions have statutory deadlines.
About how long does it take on average—as of FY2013—to adjudicate claims/cases at the hearinglevel stage (i.e., from case filing: 
90 Days
Is judicial review available after issuance of a final decision?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Case Management
How are claims/cases processed at the hearing-level stage?: 
Differentiated Case Management
Please briefly describe your case management practice(s) at the hearing level stage: 
The Board is a small agency and must prioritize its case based on immediacy and efficiency.
Does the agency permit web-based electronic filing of hearing-related briefs or other documents?: 
Are final decisions published and/or posted on the agency website?: 
Yes (All Decisions)
Do agency regulations/rules of practice specify the contents of the administrative record at the hearing-level stage?: 
Do agency regulations/rules of practice provide for closure of the record at the hearing-level stage (subject to applicable exce: 
If "Yes," please provide citation(s): 
Under the Board's modified procedures, a party may be considered to be in default if the Board issues a procedural schedule and that party does not follow it.
Comments/Notes on Hearing-Level Process & Procedures (Optional): 
While practitioners before the Board are not required to be attorneys, there are extensive educational/experience requirements and a test for non-attorneys to appear before the Board. STB regulations also set forth a code of ethics for practitioners. (49 CFR Part 1103.) The only cases in which ex parte contacts are allowed for substantive matters are some environmental cases (which may require pre-decisional public meetings and comments), and the Board's environmental staff (Office of Environmental Analysis) is trained to deal with such contacts. (See 49 CFR 1102.)
Total # of Hearing Officers: 
ADR: General Information
Is ADR available at one or more points during the hearing process?: 
If "Yes," when is ADR available?: 
Before Claim/Case Filed
Is ADR a mandatory or voluntary process?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe:: 
Arbitration and mediation is voluntary for most cases, but mediation is mandatory in rate cases to be decided under the Stand-Alone Cost Methodology. (See 49 CFR 1109. 4.)
What type(s) of ADR are available?: 
Settlement Conference
Who conducts the ADR?: 
Third-Party Neutral
Agency Program Official
Agency Counsel
Regulations/rules of practice governing ADR process (please include CFR citations): 
49 CFR Parts 1108 (arbitration) & 1109 (mediation).
Other published guidance on ADR process (if any):: 
Rail Customer and Public Assistance Program (agency website has program information and downloadable brochure on the Board's website at http://www.stb.dot.gov/stb/rail/consumer_asst.html).
Comments/Notes on ADR Process (Optional): 
STB has an extensive ADR program. The Rail Customer and Public Assistance Program (RCPAP) is an informal, voluntary pre-suit mechanism for resolution of rail operational and service-related issues. RCPAP is staffed by STB employees. IN FY2013, RCPAP handled about 900 inquiries and informal requests for dispute resolution. STB also recently promulgated significantly revised rules for arbitration and mediation to encourage greater use by simplifying procedures. With respect to arbitration, these new rules, among other things, specify arbitration-eligible matters, provide for "opt-in" participation, establish a default monetary award cap of $200,000, and specify 3-member panels unless the parties jointly agree to a single arbitrator. Costs are shared by the parties. For mediation, most matters are eligible for participation. Participation is generally voluntary except there is mandatory mediation in rate cases using stand-alone cost methodology. Mediators are STB employees trained in dispute resolution.
ADR – Summary Statistics
Comments/Notes on ADR Statistics (Optional): 
As noted above, RCPAP handles, as facilitators, a large number of informal matters. These matters are handled quickly. About a third of the matters are determined "completed -- Unresolved." These unresolved matters sometimes become formal proceedings before the Board, formal arbitration or mediation, a new matter (at a later time, depending on the issue), or matters outside the purview of the Board. Thus, the vast majority of the ADR matters before the Board are resolved within the year they are initiated.
CASELOAD STATISTICS - Summary Statistics
Total # Cases Filed/Opened (FY2013): 
Total # Cases Decided/Closed (FY2013): 
Total # Cases Pending (End of FY2013): 
CASELOAD STATISTICS - Supplementary Statistics
Does your agency maintain annual caseload statistics for this hearing office by case type (e.g., discrimination complaint, licen: 
If "Yes," please indicate preferred format below.: 
Separate email with statistical attachment (e.g., PDF, MS-Word, Excel)
Do you have any additional comments about your agency's responses on this form? If so, please provide comments below.: 
Are there distinctive or innovative features of the hearing-level adjudication program covered on this form that you wish to hig: 
Setting aside budgetary or legislative constraints (if any), does your agency have a "wish list" of processes or procedures (e.g: 
Not at this time.
Do you have any suggestions or comments about this federal administrative adjudication study?: 
Verified by Agency: