RULE 15 - DISCOVERY PROCEDURES
Section 1. Policy.
- The Commission favors prompt and complete disclosure and exchange of information and encourages informal arrangements among the parties for this exchange. Further, it is the Commission’s policy to encourage the timely use of discovery as a means toward effective presentations at hearing and avoidance of the use of cross-examination at hearing for discovery purposes.
Section 2. Modes of Discovery. - The modes of discovery permitted in the Rules of Court may be employed by any party. Upon experiencing any difficulties in obtaining discovery, the parties may seek relief from the Commission by filing a proper motion.
Section 3. Depositions. - The testimony of any witness may be taken by deposition at any time before the hearing is closed. The deposition shall proceed in the same manner and pursuant to the same procedures governing the taking and use of depositions under the Rules of Court.
Section 4. Data Requests. - In any proceeding pending before the Commission, the Commission and any party may request such data, studies, work papers, reports, and information as are reasonably relevant to the proceeding and are permitted by these rules or by law.
Data requests by a party shall be in writing, shall be directed to the party to whom the request is made or its attorney, copy furnished the Commission, and shall specify in as much detail as possible the material requested. Oral data requests may be allowed at the Commission’s or presiding officer’s discretion when made on the record during a hearing. Written or oral requests for data shall include the purpose and justification therefor. Any requested material or portion thereof to which objection is not made as set forth below shall be produced for the requesting party as soon as practicable and in no event later than fifteen (15) days after service of the request, unless the time for production is otherwise shortened or extended by agreement or order of the Commission.
Objection to a data request by a party in whole or in part on the ground that the request is unreasonable and/or the material is not relevant or not permitted or required by law shall be made by motion filed as soon as practicable and in no event later than ten (10) days after service of the request. An oral objection may be made at a hearing when the Commission or presiding officer has allowed an oral data request. Objection shall include the portions of the data request objected to and shall detail the basis for the objection. The Commission or the presiding officer shall thereupon determine the validity of the request, taking into account the objection thereto, and rule accordingly.
Copies of all requested data shall be served on the Commission and, subject to the reimbursement of the reproduction costs incurred by the requested party, on all other parties, unless a protective order has been granted under Section 5.
Section 5. Protective Orders. - Upon motion by a party from whom discovery is sought, and for good cause shown, the Commission or presiding officer may make an order when justice requires to protect the party from unreasonable annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, burden or expense, or from disclosure of confidential business and financial information. If the motion for a protective order is denied in whole or in part, the Commission or presiding officer may order that the party provide or permit discovery. If the motion is made upon a claim of privilege, the procedure in Rule 4 shall apply.
Section 6. Effect of Failure to Comply. - The failure of a party to comply with a data request or a Commission order related thereto shall be a ground for striking such portion of any testimony related to such request, without prejudice to the institution of contempt proceedings against the erring party at the discretion of the Commission.