Other Fields
Agency Scheme: 
Hearing Level: Basic Structure
Name of Hearing Office (local name): 
Policy & Litigation Division
Name of Hearing Office (global name): 
Department of Agriculture: Policy & Litigation Division
Packers & Stockyards Program (GIPSA)
Hearing Officer #1 (Title): 
Presiding Officer (USDA OGC attorney)
Hearing Officer #2 (Title): 
Judicial Officer
Are administrative appeals permitted from final decisions at the hearing-level stage?: 
Comments/Notes on Adjudication Structure: 

Adjudication of claims filed with USDA by third-parties (i.e., non-federal entities or persons) for an award of damages (reparations) against covered stockyard owners, market agencies, or dealers based on unreasonable rates and/or practices under the Packers & Stockyards Act of 1921. USDA is not a party of record to reparation claims; the agency provides only the forum for resolution of such claims.

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?: 
Is the agency permitted to have representation at hearings?: 
Regulations/rules of practice for hearings (please include CFR citations): 
9 CFR 202.101 - 202.123
Other published guidance for hearings (if any): 
"Understanding Reparations Proceedings" (March 2011) (posted on GIPSA website)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Pre-Hearing Procedure
Is discovery permitted by either party at the hearing-level stage?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Briefly describe the scope and type(s) of discovery available (e.g., depositions, interrogatories, etc.): 
Depositions (oral or upon written interrogatories) permitted upon motion and order of Presiding Officer. Subpoenas for production of documents also allowed with order. (9 CFR 202.109)
Does the hearing officer have subpoena authority?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Are ex parte contacts prohibited?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Are parties provided notice of hearing?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Hearing Procedure
What types of hearings are permitted at the hearing-level stage?: 
Written (Document-Only) Hearing
How is the type of hearing selected: 
Required by Rule
Depends on Nature of Case/Claim
Please describe: 
Oral hearings for reparations claims over $10,000 upon written request of party. Reparations claims under $10,000 do not have oral hearings unless Presiding Officer deems necessary. Video hearings are the default method for oral hearings unless Presiding Officer deems in-person hearing necessary or when needed to prevent prejudice. (See 9 CFR 202.111 - 202.112).
How many hearing officers preside at each hearing?: 
Is witness testimony permitted at hearings?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
If oral hearings are conducted, witness testimony is permitted. Not applicable to "paper" written hearings. (9 CFR 202.112 - 202.113)
Can parties cross-examine witnesses?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
If oral hearings are conducted, witness testimony is permitted. Not applicable to "paper" written hearings. (9 CFR 202.112 - 202.113)
Can third-parties submit amicus briefs and/or evidence?: 
Are hearings recorded and/or transcribed?: 
N/A (Document-Only Hearings)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Post-Hearing Procedure
Who typically drafts the decision at the hearing-level stage?: 
Adjudication Officer
Who has authority to issue final decisions?: 
If "Other," please specify: 
At the conclusion of a hearing, the presiding officer files the hearing record with the hearing clerk, and submits a written report and proposed final order to the Judicial Officer. The Judicial Officer, after consideration of the record, issues a final order. (9 CFR 202.115 - 202.116)
Do agency regulations or guidance provide time limits for issuance of final decisions?: 
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Case Management
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?: 
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: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
If "Yes," please provide citation(s): 
Record closure not express, but by implication. (9 CFR 202.114, 202.117).
Comments/Notes on Hearing-Level Process & Procedures (Optional): 
*USDA Investigation/Informal Disposition: USDA may, in its discretion, investigate complaints after filing by third parties, and may dismiss complaint if insufficient factual basis to proceed. USDA may also attempt to assist the parties in reaching an "informal adjustment of the matter" based on its investigative report. In any event, the investigative report becomes part of the case record. *Expedited procedure for smaller claims: Shortened procedures for hearings on written record when reparations claims are less than $10,000. Parties file written evidence and verifications, and hearing is on written record only. (9 CFR 202.113) * Complaint form: A party filing a reparations complaint may use, but is not required to use, a PDF complaint form posted on the agency's website (Form P&SP-5000).
ADR: General Information
Is ADR available at one or more points during the hearing process?: 
Comments/Notes on ADR Process (Optional): 
While there is no formal ADR mechanisms associated with the P&SP reparations program, the rules of practice do provide for "informal disposition" through post-complaint settlement discussions facilitated by the agency following an investigation. (9 CFR 202.104(a)).
Verified by Agency: 
Not verified