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Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; Rules of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

DoD is issuing a final rule to update the Rules of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA). The final rule implements statutory Start Printed Page 27275increases in the thresholds relating to the submission and processing of contract appeals and updates statutory references and other administrative information.

DATES:

Effective Date: May 11, 2011.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Catherine Stanton, Executive Director, ASBCA, 703-681-8503, Internet address: catherine.stanton@asbca.mil; or David Houpe, Chief Counsel, ASBCA, 703-681-8510, Internet address: david.houpe@asbca.mil.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

This final rule is being issued on behalf of Mr. Paul Williams, Chairman, Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. It amends DFARS Appendix A, Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, Part 2—Rules, to update thresholds related to requirements for contractor claims and to update information as follows:

○ The Preface, section I, has been amended to implement section 3 of Public Law 111-350, 124 Stat. 3677 (2011), which, inter alia, revised and renumbered 41 U.S.C. 601-613 to 41 U.S.C. 7101-7109.

○ The Preface, section II(a), has been amended to update the Board's address and telephone number.

○ In Rule 1, subsections (b) and (c) implement section 2351(b) of Public Law 103-355, 108 Stat. 3322 (1994). Section 2351(b) amended 41 U.S.C. 605(c) to increase, from $50,000 to $100,000, the threshold relating to certification, decision, and notification requirements for contractor claims.

Rule 12.1, subsection (a), and Rule 12.3, subsection (b), implement section 2351(d) of Public Law 103-355, 108 Stat. 3322 (1994). Section 2351(d) amended 41 U.S.C. 608(a) to increase, from $10,000 to $50,000, the threshold for applicability of small claims procedures for disposition of appeals.

Rule 12.1, subsection (a) implements section 857 of Public Law 109-364, 120 Stat. 2349 (2006). Section 857 amended 41 U.S.C. 608(a) to insert after $50,000 or less” the following language: “Or, in the case of a small business concern (as defined in the Small Business Act and regulations under that Act), $150,000 or less.”

Rule 12.1, subsection (b), implements section 2351(c) of Public Law 103-355, 108 Stat. 3322 (1994). Section 2351(c) amended 41 U.S.C. 607(f) to increase, from $50,000 to $100,000, the threshold for applicability of accelerated procedures for disposition of appeals.

Rule 28, subsection (b), implements section 4322(b)(7) of Public Law 104-106, 110 Stat. 677 (1996). Section 4322(b)(7) amended 41 U.S.C. 612 to update statutory references relating to payment of claims. Rule 28, subsection (b), also contains changes for consistency with the judgment fund certification process specified in the Treasury Financial Manual, Financial Management Service, Department of the U.S. Treasury.

○ Minor changes have been made throughout the Rules to ensure uniformity and to correct typographical errors.

A proposed rule was published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 7782 on February 11, 2011. No comments were received in response to the proposed rule.

II. Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

III. Regulatory Flexibility Act

DoD does not expect this rule to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the rule implements current statutory provisions relating to the submission and processing of contract appeals, primarily adjusting current dollar limits affecting the processing of contract appeals to keep pace with inflation. Therefore, the adjustment of thresholds just maintains the status quo. Accordingly, DoD has not performed a final regulatory flexibility analysis. DoD certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the rule implements current statutory provisions relating to the submission and processing of contract appeals, primarily adjusting current dollar limits affecting the processing of contract appeals to keep pace with inflation. Therefore, the adjustment of thresholds just maintains the status quo.

IV. Paperwork Reduction Act

The rule does not impose any information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR, Appendix A, Part 2

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Ynette R. Shelkin,

Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

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Therefore, 48 CFR chapter 2 is amended as follows:

Chapter 2—Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense

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1. The authority citation for 48 CFR chapter 2 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 41 U.S.C. 1707 and 48 CFR chapter 1.

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2. Appendix A to Chapter 2 is amended by revising Part 2—Rules to read as follows:

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Appendix A to Chapter 2—Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals

* * * * *

Part 2—Rules

Approved 15 July 1963

Revised 1 May 1969

Revised 1 September 1973

Revised 30 June 1980

Revised 11 May 2011

RULES OF THE ARMED SERVICES BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS

PREFACE

I. Jurisdiction for Considering Appeals

The Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (referred to herein as the Board) has jurisdiction to decide any appeal from a decision of a contracting officer, pursuant to the Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. §§ 7101-7109, or its Charter, relative to a contract made by (i) the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or (ii) any other department or agency, as permitted by law.

II. Location and Organization of the Board

(a) The Board's address is Skyline Six, Room 703, 5109 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3208, telephone 703-681-8500 (receptionist), 703-681-8502 (Recorder).

(b) The Board consists of a Chairman, two or more Vice Chairmen, and other members, all of whom are attorneys at law duly licensed by a State, commonwealth, territory, Start Printed Page 27276or the District of Columbia. Board members are designated Administrative Judges.

(c) There are a number of divisions of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, established by the Chairman of the Board in such manner as to provide for the most effective and expeditious handling of appeals. The Chairman and a Vice Chairman of the Board act as members of each division. Appeals are assigned to the divisions for decision without regard to the military department or other procuring agency which entered into the contract involved. Hearings may be held by a designated member (Administrative Judge), or by a duly authorized examiner. Except for appeals processed under the expedited or accelerated procedure, the decision of a majority of a division constitutes the decision of the Board, unless the Chairman refers the appeal to the Board's Senior Deciding Group (consisting of the Chairman, Vice Chairmen and all division heads), in which event a decision of a majority of that group constitutes the decision of the Board. Appeals referred to the Senior Deciding Group are those of unusual difficulty or significant precedential importance, or which have occasioned serious dispute within the normal division decision process. For decisions of appeals processed under the expedited or accelerated procedure, see Rules 12.2(c) and 12.3(b).

Table of Contents

Rules of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals

Preliminary Procedures

Rule 1 Appeals, How Taken

Rule 2 Notice of Appeal, Contents of

Rule 3 Docketing of Appeals

Rule 4 Preparation, Content, Organization, Forwarding, and Status of Appeal File

Rule 5 Motions

Rule 6 Pleadings

Rule 7 Amendments of Pleadings or Record

Rule 8 Hearing Election

Rule 9 Prehearing Briefs

Rule 10 Prehearing or Presubmission Conference

Rule 11 Submission Without a Hearing

Rule 12 Optional Small Claims (Expedited) and Accelerated Procedures

Rule 13 Settling the Record

Rule 14 Discovery—Depositions

Rule 15 Interrogatories to Parties, Admission of Facts, and Production and Inspection of Documents

Rule 16 Service of Papers Other than Subpoenas

HEARINGS

Rule 17 Where and When Held

Rule 18 Notice of Hearings

Rule 19 Unexcused Absence of a Party

Rule 20 Hearings: Nature, Examination of Witnesses

Rule 21 Subpoenas

Rule 22 Copies of Papers

Rule 23 Post-Hearing Briefs

Rule 24 Transcript of Proceedings

Rule 25 Withdrawal of Exhibits

REPRESENTATION

Rule 26 The Appellant

Rule 27 The Government

DECISIONS

Rule 28 Decisions

MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

Rule 29 Motion for Reconsideration

SUSPENSIONS, DISMISSALS, DEFAULTS, REMANDS

Rule 30 Suspensions; Dismissal Without Prejudice

Rule 31 Dismissal or Default for Failure to Prosecute or Defend

Rule 32 Remand from Court

TIME, COMPUTATION, AND EXTENSIONS

Rule 33 Time, Computation and Extensions

EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONS

Rule 34 Ex parte Communications

SANCTIONS

Rule 35 Sanctions

EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPLICABILITY

Rule 36 Effective Date

RULES

PRELIMINARY PROCEDURES

Rule 1. Appeals, How Taken

(a) Notice of an appeal shall be in writing and mailed or otherwise furnished to the Board within 90 days from the date of receipt of a contracting officer's decision. A copy thereof shall be furnished to the contracting officer from whose decision the appeal is taken.

(b) Where the contractor has submitted a claim of $100,000 or less to the contracting officer and has requested a written decision within 60 days from receipt of the request, and the contracting officer has not provided one within the period required, the contractor may file a notice of appeal as provided in subparagraph (a) of this Rule, citing the failure of the contracting officer to issue a decision.

(c) Where the contractor has submitted a properly certified claim over $100,000 to the contracting officer or has requested a decision by the contracting officer which presently involves no monetary amount pursuant to the Disputes clause, and the contracting officer has failed to issue a decision within a reasonable time, taking into account such factors as the size and complexity of the claim, the contractor may file a notice of appeal as provided in subparagraph (a) of this Rule, citing the failure of the contracting officer to issue a decision.

(d) Upon docketing of appeals filed pursuant to (b) or (c) of this Rule, the Board may, at its option, stay further proceedings pending issuance of a final decision by the contracting officer within such period of time as is determined by the Board.

(e) In lieu of filing a notice of appeal under (b) or (c) of this Rule, the contractor may request the Board to direct the contracting officer to issue a decision in a specified period of time, as determined by the Board, in the event of undue delay on the part of the contracting officer.

Rule 2. Notice of Appeal, Contents of

A notice of appeal should indicate that an appeal is being taken and should identify the contract (by number), the department and/or agency involved in the dispute, the decision from which the appeal is taken, and the amount in dispute, if known. The notice of appeal should be signed personally by the appellant (the contractor taking the appeal), or by the appellant's duly authorized representative or attorney. The complaint referred to in Rule 6 may be filed with the notice of appeal, or the appellant may designate the notice of appeal as a complaint, if it otherwise fulfills the requirements of a complaint.

Rule 3. Docketing of Appeals

When a notice of appeal in any form has been received by the Board, it shall be docketed promptly. Notice in writing shall be given to the appellant with a copy of these Rules, and to the contracting officer.

Rule 4. Preparation, Content, Organization, Forwarding, and Status of Appeal File

(a) Duties of Contracting Officer—Within 30 days of receipt of an appeal, or notice that an appeal has been filed, the contracting officer shall assemble and transmit to the Board an appeal file consisting of all documents pertinent to the appeal, including:

(1) The decision from which the appeal is taken;

(2) The contract, including pertinent specifications, amendments, plans, and drawings;

(3) All correspondence between the parties relevant to the appeal, including the letter or letters of claim in response to which the decision was issued;

(4) Transcripts of any testimony taken during the course of proceedings, and affidavits or statements of any witnesses on the matter in dispute made prior to the filing of the notice of appeal with the Board; and

(5) Any additional information considered relevant to the appeal.

Within the same time specified in paragraph (a) of this Rule, the contracting officer shall furnish the appellant a copy of each document the contracting officer transmits to the Board, except those in subparagraph (a)(2) of this Rule. As to the latter, a list furnished the appellant indicating specific contractual documents transmitted will suffice.

(b) Duties of the Appellant—Within 30 days after receipt of a copy of the appeal file assembled by the contracting officer, the appellant shall transmit to the Board any documents not contained therein which the appellant considers relevant to the appeal, and furnish two copies of such documents to the Government trial attorney.

(c) Organization of Appeal File—Documents in the appeal file may be originals or legible facsimiles or authenticated copies, and shall be arranged in chronological order where practicable, numbered sequentially, tabbed, and indexed to identify the contents of the file.

(d) Lengthy Documents—Upon request by either party, the Board may waive the requirement to furnish to the other party copies of bulky, lengthy, or out-of-size documents in the appeal file when inclusion would be burdensome. At the time a party files with the Board a document for which such a waiver has been granted, the party shall notify the other party that the document or a copy is available for inspection at the offices of the Board or of the filing party.

(e) Status of Documents in Appeal File—Documents contained in the appeal file are Start Printed Page 27277considered, without further action by the parties, as part of the record upon which the Board will render its decision. However, a party may object, for reasons stated, to consideration of a particular document or documents reasonably in advance of hearing or, if there is no hearing, of settling the record. If such objection is made, the Board shall remove the document or documents from the appeal file and permit the party offering the document to move its admission as evidence in accordance with Rules 13 and 20.

(f) Notwithstanding the foregoing, the filing of the Rule 4(a) and (b) documents may be dispensed with by the Board either upon request of the appellant in its notice of appeal or thereafter upon stipulation of the parties.

Rule 5. Motions

(a) Any motion addressed to the jurisdiction of the Board shall be promptly filed. Hearing on the motion shall be afforded on application of either party. However, the Board may defer its decision on the motion pending hearing on both the merits and the motion. The Board shall have the right at any time and on its own initiative to raise the issue of its jurisdiction to proceed with a particular appeal, and shall do so by an appropriate order, affording the parties an opportunity to be heard thereon.

(b) The Board may entertain and rule upon other appropriate motions.

Rule 6. Pleadings

(a) Appellant—Within 30 days after receipt of notice of docketing of the appeal, the appellant shall file with the Board an original and two copies of a complaint setting forth simple, concise, and direct statements of each of its claims. The appellant shall also set forth the basis, with appropriate reference to contract provisions, of each claim and the dollar amount claimed, to the extent known. This pleading shall fulfill the generally recognized requirements of a complaint, although no particular form is required. Upon receipt of the complaint, the Board shall serve a copy of it upon the Government unless a copy has been provided directly by the appellant. Should the complaint not be received within 30 days, the appellant's claim and appeal may, if in the opinion of the Board the issues before the Board are sufficiently defined, be deemed to set forth its complaint and the Government shall be so notified.

(b) Government—Within 30 days from receipt of the complaint, or the aforesaid notice from the Board, the Government shall prepare and file with the Board an original and two copies of an answer thereto. The answer shall set forth simple, concise, and direct statements of the Government's defenses to each claim asserted by the appellant, including any affirmative defenses available. Upon receipt of the answer, the Board shall serve a copy upon the appellant. Should the answer not be received within 30 days, the Board may, in its discretion, enter a general denial on behalf of the Government, and the appellant shall be so notified.

(c) A party who intends to raise an issue concerning the law of a foreign country shall give notice in its pleadings or other reasonable written notice. The Board, in determining foreign law, may consider any relevant material or source, including testimony, whether or not submitted by a party or admissible under Rules 11, 13, or 20. The determination of foreign law shall be treated as a ruling on a question of law.

Rule 7. Amendments of Pleadings or Record

The Board upon its own initiative or upon application by a party may order a party to make a more definite statement of the complaint or answer, or to reply to an answer. The Board may, in its discretion, and within the proper scope of the appeal, permit either party to amend its pleading upon conditions fair to both parties. When issues within the proper scope of the appeal, but not raised by the pleadings, are tried by express or implied consent of the parties, or by permission of the Board, they shall be treated in all respects as if they had been raised therein. In such instances, motions to amend the pleadings to conform to the proof may be entered, but are not required. If evidence is objected to at a hearing on the ground that it is not within the issues raised by the pleadings, it may be admitted within the proper scope of the appeal, provided however, that the objecting party may be granted a continuance, if necessary, to enable it to meet such evidence.

Rule 8. Hearing Election

After filing of the Government's answer or notice from the Board that it has entered a general denial on behalf of the Government, each party shall advise whether it desires a hearing as prescribed in Rules 17 through 25, or whether it elects to submit its case on the record without a hearing, as prescribed in Rule 11.

Rule 9. Prehearing Briefs

Based on an examination of the pleadings, and its determination of whether the arguments and authorities addressed to the issues are adequately set forth therein, the Board may, in its discretion, require the parties to submit prehearing briefs in any case in which a hearing has been elected pursuant to Rule 8. If the Board does not require prehearing briefs, either party may, in its discretion and upon appropriate and sufficient notice to the other party, furnish a prehearing brief to the Board. In any case where a prehearing brief is submitted, it shall be furnished so as to be received by the Board at least 15 days prior to the date set for hearing, and a copy shall simultaneously be furnished to the other party as previously arranged.

Rule 10. Prehearing or Presubmission Conference

(a) Whether the case is to be submitted pursuant to Rule 11, or heard pursuant to Rules 17 through 25, the Board may upon its own initiative, or upon the application of either party, arrange a telephone conference or call upon the parties to appear before an Administrative Judge or examiner of the Board for a conference to consider:

(1) Simplification, clarification, or severing of the issues;

(2) The possibility of obtaining stipulations, admissions, agreements, and rulings on admissibility of documents, understandings on matters already of record, or similar agreements that will avoid unnecessary proof;

(3) Agreements and rulings to facilitate discovery;

(4) Limitation of the number of expert witnesses, or avoidance of similar cumulative evidence;

(5) The possibility of agreement disposing of any or all of the issues in dispute; and

(6) Such other matters as may aid in the disposition of the appeal.

(b) The Administrative Judge or examiner of the Board shall make such rulings and orders as may be appropriate to aid in the disposition of the appeal. The results of pre-trial conferences, including any rulings and orders, shall be reduced to writing by the Administrative Judge or examiner and this writing shall thereafter constitute a part of the record.

Rule 11. Submission Without a Hearing

Either party may elect to waive a hearing and to submit its case upon the record before the Board, as settled pursuant to Rule 13. Submission of a case without hearing does not relieve the parties from the necessity of proving the facts supporting their allegations or defenses. Affidavits, depositions, admissions, answers to interrogatories, and stipulations may be employed to supplement other documentary evidence in the Board record. The Board may permit such submissions to be supplemented by oral argument (transcribed if requested), and by briefs arranged in accordance with Rule 23.

Rule 12. Optional SMALL CLAIMS (EXPEDITED) and ACCELERATED Procedures (These procedures are available solely at the election of the appellant.)

12.1 Elections to Utilize SMALL CLAIMS (EXPEDITED) and ACCELERATED Procedures

(a) In appeals where the amount in dispute is $50,000 or less, or in the case of a small business concern (as defined in the Small Business Act and regulations under that Act), $150,000 or less, the appellant may elect to have the appeal processed under a SMALL CLAIMS (EXPEDITED) procedure requiring decision of the appeal, whenever possible, within 120 days after the Board receives written notice of the appellant's election to utilize this procedure. The details of this procedure appear in section 12.2 of this Rule. An appellant may elect the ACCELERATED procedure rather than the SMALL CLAIMS (EXPEDITED) procedure for any appeal where the amount in dispute is $50,000 or less.

(b) In appeals where the amount in dispute is $100,000 or less, the appellant may elect to have the appeal processed under an ACCELERATED procedure requiring decision of the appeal, whenever possible, within 180 days after the Board receives written notice of the appellant's election to utilize this procedure. The details of this procedure appear in section 12.3 of this Rule.

(c) The appellant's election of either the SMALL CLAIMS (EXPEDITED) procedure or Start Printed Page 27278the ACCELERATED procedure may be made by written notice within 60 days after receipt of notice of docketing, unless such period is extended by the Board for good cause. The election, once made, may not be withdrawn except with permission of the Board and for good cause.

12.2 The SMALL CLAIMS (EXPEDITED) Procedure

(a) In appeals proceeding under the SMALL CLAIMS (EXPEDITED) procedure, the following time periods shall apply:

(1) Within 10 days from the Government's first receipt from either the appellant or the Board of a copy of the appellant's notice of election of the SMALL CLAIMS (EXPEDITED) procedure, the Government shall send the Board a copy of the contract, the contracting officer's final decision, and the appellant's claim letter or letters, if any; remaining documents required under Rule 4 shall be submitted in accordance with times specified in that Rule unless the Board otherwise directs.

(2) Within 15 days after the Board has acknowledged receipt of the appellant's notice of election, the assigned Administrative Judge shall take the following actions, if feasible, in an informal meeting or a telephone conference with both parties: (i) identify and simplify the issues; (ii) establish a simplified procedure appropriate to the particular appeal involved; (iii) determine whether either party wants a hearing, and if so, fix a time and place therefor; (iv) require the Government to furnish all the additional documents relevant to the appeal; and (v) establish an expedited schedule for resolution of the appeal.

(b) Pleadings, discovery, and other prehearing activity will be allowed only as consistent with the requirement to conduct the hearing on the date scheduled, or if no hearing is scheduled, to close the record on a date that will allow decisions within the 120-day limit. The Board, in its discretion, may impose shortened time periods for any actions prescribed or allowed under these Rules, as necessary, to enable the Board to decide the appeal within the 120-day limit, allowing whatever time, up to 30 days, that the Board considers necessary for the preparation of the decision after closing the record and the filing of briefs, if any.

(c) Written decision by the Board in appeals processed under the SMALL CLAIMS (EXPEDITED) procedure will be short and will contain only summary findings of fact and conclusions. Decisions will be rendered for the Board by a single Administrative Judge. If there has been a hearing, the Administrative Judge presiding at the hearing may, in the judge's discretion, at the conclusion of the hearing and after entertaining such oral arguments as are deemed appropriate, render on the record oral summary findings of fact, conclusions, and a decision of the appeal. Whenever such an oral decision is rendered, the Board will subsequently furnish the parties a typed copy of such oral decision for record and payment purposes and to establish the starting date for the period for filing a motion for reconsideration under Rule 29.

(d) A decision against the Government or the appellant shall have no value as precedent, and in the absence of fraud, shall be final and conclusive and may not be appealed or set aside.

12.3 The ACCELERATED Procedure

(a) In appeals proceeding under the ACCELERATED procedure, the parties are encouraged, to the extent possible consistent with adequate presentation of their factual and legal positions, to waive pleadings, discovery, and briefs. The Board, in its discretion, may shorten time periods prescribed or allowed elsewhere in these Rules, including Rule 4, as necessary, to enable the Board to decide the appeal within 180 days after the Board has received the appellant's notice of election of the ACCELERATED procedure, and may reserve 30 days for preparation of the decision.

(b) Written decision by the Board in appeals processed under the ACCELERATED procedure will normally be short and contain only summary findings of fact and conclusions. Decisions will be rendered for the Board by a single Administrative Judge with the concurrence of a Vice Chairman, or by a majority among these two and the Chairman in case of disagreement. Alternatively, in an appeal where the amount in dispute is $50,000 or less as to which the ACCELERATED procedure has been elected and in which there has been a hearing, the single Administrative Judge presiding at the hearing may, with the concurrence of both parties, at the conclusion of the hearing and after entertaining such oral arguments as are deemed appropriate, render on the record oral summary findings of fact, conclusions, and a decision of the appeal. Whenever such an oral decision is rendered, the Board will subsequently furnish the parties a typed copy of such oral decision for record and payment purposes, and to establish the starting date for the period for filing a motion for reconsideration under Rule 29.

12.4 Motions for Reconsideration in Rule 12 Appeals

Motions for reconsideration of appeals decided under either the SMALL CLAIMS (EXPEDITED) procedure or the ACCELERATED procedure need not be decided within the original 120-day or 180-day limit, but all such motions shall be processed and decided rapidly so as to fulfill the intent of this Rule.

Rule 13. Settling the Record

(a) The record upon which the Board's decision will be rendered consists of the documents furnished under Rules 4 and 12, to the extent admitted in evidence, and the following items, if any: pleadings, prehearing conference memoranda or orders, prehearing briefs, depositions or interrogatories received in evidence, admissions, stipulations, transcripts of conferences and hearings, hearing exhibits, post-hearing briefs, and documents which the Board has specifically designated to be made a part of the record. The record will, at all reasonable times, be available for inspection by the parties at the office of the Board.

(b) Except as the Board may otherwise order in its discretion, no proof shall be received in evidence after completion of an oral hearing or, in cases submitted on the record, after notification by the Board that the case is ready for decision.

(c) The weight to be attached to any evidence of record will rest within the sound discretion of the Board. The Board may in any case require either party, with appropriate notice to the other party, to submit additional evidence on any matter relevant to the appeal.

Rule 14. Discovery—Depositions

(a) General Policy and Protective Orders—The parties are encouraged to engage in voluntary discovery procedures. In connection with any deposition or other discovery procedure, the Board may make any order required to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, or undue burden or expense. Those orders may include limitations on the scope, method, time, and place for discovery, and provisions for protecting the secrecy of confidential information or documents.

(b) When Depositions Permitted—After an appeal has been docketed and complaint filed, the parties may mutually agree to, or the Board may, upon application of either party, order the taking of testimony of any person by deposition upon oral examination or written interrogatories before any officer authorized to administer oaths at the place of examination, for use as evidence or for purpose of discovery. The application for order shall specify whether the purpose of the deposition is discovery or for use as evidence.

(c) Orders on Depositions—The time, place, and manner of taking depositions shall be as mutually agreed by the parties, or failing such agreement, governed by order of the Board.

(d) Use as Evidence—No testimony taken by depositions shall be considered as part of the evidence in the hearing of an appeal until such testimony is offered and received in evidence at such hearing. It will not ordinarily be received in evidence if the deponent is present and can testify at the hearing. In such instances, however, the deposition may be used to contradict or impeach the testimony of the deponent given at the hearing. In cases submitted on the record, the Board may, in its discretion, receive depositions to supplement the record.

(e) Expenses—Each party shall bear its own expenses associated with the taking of any deposition.

(f) Subpoenas—Where appropriate, a party may request the issuance of a subpoena under the provisions of Rule 21.

Rule 15. Interrogatories to Parties, Admission of Facts, and Production and Inspection of Documents

After an appeal has been docketed and complaint filed with the Board, a party may serve on the other party: (a) Written interrogatories to be answered separately in writing, signed under oath and answered or objected to within 45 days after service; (b) a request for the admission of specified facts and/or of the authenticity of any documents, to be answered or objected to within 45 days after service; the factual statements and/or the authenticity of the documents to be deemed admitted upon failure of a party to Start Printed Page 27279respond to the request; and (c) a request for the production, inspection, and copying of any documents or objects not privileged, which reasonably may lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, to be answered or objected to within 45 days after service. The Board may allow a shorter or longer time. Any discovery engaged in under this Rule shall be subject to the provisions of Rule 14(a) with respect to general policy and protective orders, and of Rule 35 with respect to sanctions.

Rule 16. Service of Papers Other Than Subpoenas

Papers shall be served personally or by mail, addressed to the party upon whom service is to be made. Copies of complaints, answers, and briefs shall be filed directly with the Board. The party filing any other paper with the Board shall send a copy thereof to the opposing party, noting on the paper filed with the Board that a copy has been so furnished. Subpoenas shall be served as provided in Rule 21.

HEARINGS

Rule 17. Where and When Held

Hearings will be held at such places determined by the Board to best serve the interests of the parties and the Board. Hearings will be scheduled at the discretion of the Board with due consideration to the regular order of appeals, Rule 12 requirements, and other pertinent factors. On request or motion by either party and for good cause, the Board may, in its discretion, adjust the date of a hearing.

Rule 18. Notice of Hearings

The parties shall be given at least 15 days notice of the time and place set for hearings. In scheduling hearings, the Board will consider the desires of the parties and the requirement for just and inexpensive determination of appeals without unnecessary delay. Notices of hearings shall be promptly acknowledged by the parties.

Rule 19. Unexcused Absence of a Party

The unexcused absence of a party at the time and place set for hearing will not be occasion for delay. In the event of such absence, the hearing will proceed and the case will be regarded as submitted by the absent party as provided in Rule 11.

Rule 20. Hearings: Nature, Examination of Witnesses

(a) Nature of Hearings—Hearings shall be as informal as may be reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances. The appellant and the Government may offer such evidence as they deem appropriate and as would be admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence or in the sound discretion of the presiding Administrative Judge or examiner. Stipulations of fact agreed upon by the parties may be regarded and used as evidence at the hearing. The parties may stipulate the testimony that would be given by a witness if the witness were present. The Board may require evidence in addition to that offered by the parties.

(b) Examination of Witnesses—Witnesses before the Board will be examined orally under oath or affirmation, unless the presiding Administrative Judge or examiner shall otherwise order. If the testimony of a witness is not given under oath, the Board may advise the witness that his or her statements may be subject to the provisions of Title 18, United States Code, sections 287 and 1001, and any other provision of law imposing penalties for knowingly making false representations in connection with claims against the United States or in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency thereof.

Rule 21. Subpoenas

(a) General—Upon written request of either party filed with the Recorder, or on his or her own initiative, the Administrative Judge to whom an appeal is assigned or who is otherwise designated by the Chairman may issue a subpoena requiring:

(1) Testimony at a deposition—the deposing of a witness in the city or county where the witness resides or is employed or transacts business in person, or at another location convenient for the witness that is specifically determined by the Board;

(2) Testimony at a hearing—the attendance of a witness for the purpose of taking testimony at a hearing; and

(3) Production of books and papers—in addition to (1) or (2), the production by the witness at the deposition or hearing of books and papers (including electronically stored information and other tangible things) designated in the subpoena.

(b) Voluntary Cooperation—Each party is expected (i) to cooperate and make available witnesses and evidence under its control as requested by the other party, without issuance of a subpoena, and (ii) to secure voluntary attendance of desired third-party witnesses and production of desired third-party books, papers, documents, or tangible things whenever possible.

(c) Requests for Subpoena

(1) A request for subpoena shall normally be filed at least:

(i) 15 days before a scheduled deposition where the attendance of a witness at a deposition is sought; or

(ii) 30 days before a scheduled hearing where the attendance of a witness at a hearing is sought.

In its discretion, the Board may honor requests for subpoenas not made within these time limitations.

(2) A request for a subpoena shall state the reasonable scope and general relevance to the case of the testimony and of any books and papers sought.

(d) Requests to Quash or Modify—Upon written request by the person subpoenaed or by a party, made within 10 days after service but in any event not later than the time specified in the subpoena for compliance, the Board may (i) quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive or for other good cause shown, or (ii) require the person in whose behalf the subpoena was issued to advance the reasonable cost of producing subpoenaed books and papers. Where circumstances require, the Board may act upon such a request at any time after a copy of the request has been served upon the opposing party.

(e) Form: Issuance

(1) Every subpoena shall state the name of the Board and the title of the appeal, and shall command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony, and if appropriate, to produce specified books and papers at a time and place therein specified. In issuing a subpoena to a requesting party, the Administrative Judge shall sign the subpoena and may, in his or her discretion, enter the name of the witness and otherwise leave it blank. The party to whom the subpoena is issued shall complete the subpoena before service.

(2) Where the witness is located in a foreign country, a letter rogatory or subpoena may be issued and served under the circumstances and in the manner provided in 28 U.S.C. 1781-1784.

(f) Service

(1) The party requesting issuance of a subpoena shall arrange for service.

(2) A subpoena requiring the attendance of a witness at a deposition or hearing may be served at any place. A subpoena may be served by a United States marshal or deputy marshal, or by any other person who is not a party and not less than 18 years of age. Service of a subpoena upon a person named therein shall be made by personally delivering a copy to that person and tendering the fees for one day's attendance and the mileage provided by 28 U.S.C. 1821 or other applicable law; however, where the subpoena is issued on behalf of the Government, money payments need not be tendered in advance of attendance.

(3) The party at whose instance a subpoena is issued shall be responsible for the payment of fees and mileage of the witness and of the officer who serves the subpoena. The failure to make payment of such charges on demand may be deemed by the Board as a sufficient ground for striking the testimony of the witness and the books or papers the witness has produced.

(g) Contumacy or Refusal to Obey a Subpoena—In case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena by a person who resides, is found, or transacts business within the jurisdiction of a United States District Court, the Board will apply to the Court through the Attorney General of the United States for an order requiring the person to appear before the Board or a member thereof to give testimony or produce evidence or both. Any failure of any such person to obey the order of the Court may be punished by the Court as a contempt thereof.

Rule 22. Copies of Papers

When books, records, papers, or documents have been received in evidence, a true copy thereof or of such part thereof as may be material or relevant may be substituted therefor, during the hearing or at the conclusion thereof.

Rule 23. Post-Hearing Briefs

Post-hearing briefs may be submitted upon such terms as may be directed by the presiding Administrative Judge or examiner at the conclusion of the hearing.

Rule 24. Transcript of Proceedings

Testimony and argument at hearings shall be reported verbatim, unless the Board Start Printed Page 27280otherwise orders. Waiver of transcript may be especially suitable for hearings under Rule 12.2. Transcripts of the proceedings shall be supplied to the parties at such rates as may be established by contract between the Board and the reporter, provided that ordinary copy of transcript shall be supplied to the appellant at an amount no greater than the cost of duplication.

Rule 25. Withdrawal of Exhibits

After a decision has become final the Board may, upon request and after notice to the other party, in its discretion permit the withdrawal of original exhibits, or any part thereof, by the party entitled thereto. The substitution of true copies of exhibits or any part thereof may be required by the Board in its discretion as a condition of granting permission for such withdrawal.

REPRESENTATION

Rule 26. The Appellant

An individual appellant may appear before the Board in person; a corporation by one of its officers; and a partnership or joint venture by one of its members; or any of these by an attorney at law duly licensed in any State, commonwealth, territory, the District of Columbia, or in a foreign country. An attorney representing an appellant shall file a written notice of appearance with the Board.

Rule 27. The Government

Government counsel may, in accordance with their authority, represent the interest of the Government before the Board. They shall file notices of appearance with the Board, and notice thereof will be given the appellant or the appellant's attorney in the form specified by the Board from time to time.

DECISIONS

Rule 28. Decisions

(a) Decisions of the Board will be made in writing and authenticated copies of the decision will be forwarded simultaneously to both parties. The Rules of the Board and all final orders and decisions (except those required for good cause to be held confidential and not cited as precedents) shall be open for public inspection at the offices of the Board. Decisions of the Board will be made solely upon the record, as described in Rule 13.

(b) Any monetary award to a contractor by the Board shall be promptly paid in accordance with the procedures provided by 31 U.S.C. 1304, as amended. To assure prompt payment the Recorder will forward the required forms to each party with the decision. If the parties do not contemplate an appeal or motion for reconsideration, they will execute the waiver forms which so state. The Government agency will forward the waiver and other forms with a copy of the decision to the Department of the Treasury for certification of payment.

MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

Rule 29. Motion for Reconsideration

A motion for reconsideration may be filed by either party. It shall set forth specifically the grounds relied upon to sustain the motion. The motion shall be filed within 30 days from the date of the receipt of a copy of the decision of the Board by the party filing the motion.

SUSPENSIONS, DISMISSALS, DEFAULTS, REMANDS

Rule 30. Suspensions; Dismissal Without Prejudice

The Board may suspend the proceedings by agreement of counsel for settlement discussions, or for good cause shown. In certain cases, appeals docketed before the Board are required to be placed in a suspense status and the Board is unable to proceed with disposition thereof for reasons not within the control of the Board. Where the suspension has continued, or may continue, for an inordinate length of time, the Board may, in its discretion, dismiss such appeals from its docket without prejudice to their restoration when the cause of suspension has been removed. Unless either party or the Board acts within three years to reinstate any appeal dismissed without prejudice, the dismissal shall be deemed to be with prejudice.

Rule 31. Dismissal or Default for Failure To Prosecute or Defend

Whenever a record discloses the failure of either party to file documents required by these Rules, respond to notices or correspondence from the Board, comply with orders of the Board, or otherwise indicates an intention not to continue the prosecution or defense of an appeal, the Board may, in the case of a default by the appellant, issue an order to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed or, in the case of a default by the Government, issue an order to show cause why the Board should not act thereon pursuant to Rule 35. If good cause is not shown, the Board may take appropriate action.

Rule 32. Remand From Court

Whenever any court remands a case to the Board for further proceedings, each of the parties shall, within 20 days of such remand, submit a report to the Board recommending procedures to be followed so as to comply with the court's order. The Board shall consider the reports and enter special orders governing the handling of the remanded case. To the extent the court's directive and time limitations permit, such orders shall conform to these Rules.

TIME, COMPUTATION, AND EXTENSIONS

Rule 33. Time, Computation, and Extensions

(a) Where possible, procedural actions should be taken in less time than the maximum time allowed. Where appropriate and justified, however, extensions of time will be granted. All requests for extensions of time shall be in writing.

(b) In computing any period of time, the day of the event from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included, but the last day of the period shall be included unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal legal public holiday, in which event the period shall run to the end of the next business day.

EX PARTE COMMUNICATIONS

Rule 34. Ex Parte Communications

No member of the Board or of the Board's staff shall entertain, nor shall any person directly or indirectly involved in an appeal, submit to the Board or the Board's staff, off the record, any evidence, explanation, analysis, or advice, whether written or oral, regarding any matter at issue in an appeal. This provision does not apply to consultation among Board members or to ex parte communications concerning the Board's administrative functions or procedures.

SANCTIONS

Rule 35. Sanctions

If any party fails or refuses to obey an order issued by the Board, the Board may then make such order as it considers necessary to the just and expeditious conduct of the appeal.

EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPLICABILITY

Rule 36. Effective Date

These Rules shall apply

(a) Mandatorily, to all appeals relating to contracts entered into on or after 1 March 1979, and

(b) At the contractor's election, to appeals relating to earlier contracts, with respect to claims pending before the contracting officer on 1 March 1979 or initiated thereafter.

PAUL WILLIAMS MAY 11, 2011

CHAIRMAN

ARMED SERVICES BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS

End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2011-9910 Filed 5-10-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 5001-08-P