5. Prehearing Conferences
At any time before the hearing, the ALJ may call a prehearing conference. In addition to any matter deemed appropriate by the ALJ or required by regulation, a prehearing conference will generally be used to clarify the issues in controversy and to discuss how the case should proceed (e.g., via an oral hearing, motion for summary judgment, or submission of the case for decision on the written record). Specific issues that the ALJ might address include:
- the scheduling of a hearing (i.e., its estimated length, location, and date);
- discovery, if appropriate, and a schedule for completing it;
- admissions and stipulations;
- a date for the submission of written lists of proposed witnesses (with a synopsis of expected testimony), proposed exhibits (including written statements in lieu of testimony), and prior written statements of proposed witnesses;
- what exhibits and witnesses are contemplated;
- whether the parties intend to request subpoenas for witnesses;
- the necessity for and extent of expert testimony;
- the use of charts, work papers, or other unusual exhibits;
- the use of written statements in lieu of direct testimony;
- a schedule for prehearing briefs; and
- marking exhibits, numbering pages of exhibits, and introducing and having exhibits submitted into evidence.
The agreements and stipulations entered into at the prehearing conference are binding on all parties.