Tuesday, July 4, 2017

NJAC 1:1-18.9 Final decisions by administrative law judges

1:1-18.9 Final decisions by administrative law judges 

   (a) Where the head of an agency determines that the decision or recommended report of the administrative law judge, in a case or in a class of cases, will serve as the final agency decision, the head of agency shall file with the Director a written order describing the case or class of cases. The order shall apply to all cases described therein commenced with the agency after the order's issuance.

(b) For all cases in (a) above, the decision of the administrative law judge shall be the final agency decision on the matter and it will be deemed adopted by the head of agency on the date the decision is filed with the agency. The head of agency shall not have the opportunity to reject or modify the administrative law judge's recommended report or decision.

(c) The order delegating final decisions may be rescinded or modified by order filed by the head of agency with the Director. The rescission or modification shall be effective for all cases filed with the agency after the rescission or modification order is filed with the Director.

NJAC 1:1-18.8 Extensions of time limits

1:1-18.8 Extensions of time limits 

   (a) Time limits for filing an initial decision, filing exceptions and replies and issuing a final decision may be extended for good cause.

(b) A request for extension of any time period must be submitted no later than the day on which that time period is to expire. This requirement may be waived only in case of emergency or other unforeseeable circumstances.

(c) Requests to extend the time limit for initial decisions shall be submitted in writing to the Director of the Office of Administrative Law. If the Director concurs in the request, he or she shall sign a proposed order no later than the date the time limit for the initial decision is due to expire and shall forward the proposed order to the transmitting agency head. If the agency head approves the request, he or she shall within 10 days of receipt of the proposed order sign the proposed order and return it to the Director, who shall issue the order and cause it to be served on all parties.

(d) Requests to extend the time limit for exceptions and replies shall be submitted in writing to the transmitting agency head and served on all parties. If the agency head approves the request, he or she shall within 10 days sign and issue the order and cause it to be served on all parties. If the extended time limit necessitates an extension of the deadline for the final decision, the requirements of (e) below apply.

(e) An agency head may request a single extension of the time limit for filing a final decision for good cause. He or she shall sign and forward a proposed order to the Director of the Office of Administrative Law. If the Director approves the request, he or she shall within 10 days of receipt of the proposed order sign the proposed order and return it to the transmitting agency head, who shall issue the order and cause it to be served on all parties. Any additional request for an extension is contingent upon the unanimous consent of the parties. To be considered for approval, proposed orders for extensions must state the names of the consenting parties. First requests for extensions and second requests where the agency is only requesting the extension pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:1-17.8(c) are exempt from the requirement to obtain unanimous consent.

(f) Any order granting an extension must set forth the factual basis constituting good cause for the extension, and establish a new time for filing the decision or exceptions and replies. Extensions for filing initial or final decisions may not exceed 45 days from the original decision due date. Additional extensions of not more than 45 days each may be granted only for good cause shown. For final decisions, the order must additionally state that unanimous consent to extend the due date was obtained from the parties.

 

NJAC 1:1-18.7 Remand; procedure

1:1-18.7 Remand; procedure

   (a) An agency head may enter an order remanding a contested case to the Office of Administrative Law for further action on issues or arguments not previously raised or incompletely considered. The order of remand shall specifically state the reason and necessity for the remand and the issues or arguments to be considered. The remand order shall be attached to a N.J.A.C. 1:1-8.2 transmittal form and returned to the Clerk of the Office of Administrative Law along with the case record.

(b) The judge shall hear the remanded matter and render an initial decision.

NJAC 1:1-18.6 Final decision; stay of implementation

1:1-18.6 Final decision; stay of implementation 

   (a) Within 45 days after the receipt of the initial decision, or sooner if an earlier time frame is mandated by Federal or State law, the agency head may enter an order or a final decision adopting, rejecting or modifying the initial decision. Such an order or final decision shall be served upon the parties and the Clerk forthwith.

(b) The agency head may reject or modify conclusions of law, interpretations of agency policy, or findings of fact not relating to issues of credibility of lay witness testimony, but shall clearly state the reasons for so doing. The order or final decision rejecting or modifying the initial decision shall state in clear and sufficient detail the nature of the rejection or modification, the reasons for it, the specific evidence at hearing and interpretation of law upon which it is based and precise changes in result or disposition caused by the rejection or modification.

(c) The agency head may not reject or modify any finding of fact as to issues of credibility of lay witness testimony unless it first determines from a review of a record that the findings are arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable, or are not supported by sufficient, competent, and credible evidence in the record.

(d) An order or final decision rejecting or modifying the findings of fact in an initial decision shall be based upon substantial evidence in the record and shall state with particularity the reasons for rejecting the findings and shall make new or modified findings supported by sufficient, competent and credible evidence in the record.

(e) If an agency head does not reject or modify the initial decision within 45 days and unless the period is extended as provided by N.J.A.C. 1:1-18.8, the initial decision shall become a final decision.

(f) When a stay of the final decision is requested, the agency shall respond to the request within 10 days.

 

NJAC 1:1-18.5 Motions to reconsider and reopeN

 1:1-18.5 Motions to reconsider and reopen 

   (a) Motions to reconsider an initial decision are not permitted.

(b) Motions to reopen a hearing after an initial decision has been filed must be addressed to the agency head.

(c) Motions to reopen the record before an initial decision is filed must be addressed to the judge and may be granted only for extraordinary circumstances.

NJAC 1:1-18.4 Exceptions; replies

1:1-18.4 Exceptions; replies 

   (a) Within 13 days from the date the judge's initial decision was mailed to the parties, any party may file written exceptions with the agency head. A copy of the exceptions shall be served on all other parties and the judge. Exceptions to orders issued under N.J.A.C. 1:1-3.2(c)4 shall be filed with the Director of the Office of Administrative Law.

(b) The exceptions shall:

1. Specify the findings of fact, conclusions of law or dispositions to which exception is taken;

2. Set out specific findings of fact, conclusions of law or dispositions proposed in lieu of or in addition to those reached by the judge;

3. Set forth supporting reasons. Exceptions to factual findings shall describe the witnesses' testimony or documentary or other evidence relied upon. Exceptions to conclusions of law shall set forth the authorities relied upon.

(c) Evidence not presented at the hearing shall not be submitted as part of an exception, nor shall it be incorporated or referred to within exceptions.

(d) Within five days from receipt of exceptions, any party may file a reply with the agency head, serving a copy thereof on all other parties and the judge. Such replies may address the issues raised in the exceptions filed by the other party or may include submissions in support of the initial decision.

(e) In all settlements, exceptions and cross-exceptions shall not be filed, unless permitted by the judge or agency head.

 

NJAC 1:1-18.3 Written initial decision

1:1-18.3 Written initial decision 

   (a) If an oral decision is not issued, the judge shall issue a written initial decision.

(b) The written initial decision shall be filed with the agency head and shall be promptly served upon the parties with an indication of the date of receipt by the agency head.

(c) The written initial decision shall contain the following elements which may be combined and need not be separately discussed:

1. An appropriate caption;

2. The appearances of the parties and their representatives, if any;

3. A statement of the case;

4. A procedural history and list of hearing dates;

5. A statement of the issue(s);

6. A factual discussion;

7. Factual findings;

8. A legal discussion;

9. Conclusions of law;

10. A disposition;

11. A list of witnesses and of exhibits admitted into evidence; and

12. The following statement: "This recommended decision may be adopted, modified or rejected by (the head of the agency), who by law is empowered to make a final decision in this matter. However, if (the head of the agency) does not so act in 45 days and unless such time limit is otherwise extended, this recommended decision shall become a final decision in accordance with N.J.S.A. 52:14B-10."