(a) General Requirements
- Presentations and Responses: An Agency or Party may by motion request the Presiding Officer to issue any order or take any action not inconsistent with law or 801 CMR 1.00. Motions may be made in writing at any time after the commencement of an Adjudicatory Proceeding or orally during a hearing. Each motion shall set forth the grounds for the desired order or action and state whether a hearing is desired. Within seven days after a written motion is filed with the Presiding Officer, any other Agency or Party may file written responses to the motion and may request a hearing. Responses to oral motions may be made orally at the hearing or in writing filed within seven days according to the discretion of the Presiding Officer.
- Action on Motions: The Agency or Presiding Officer shall, unless the Parties otherwise agree, give at least three days' notice of the time and place for the hearing when the Agency or Presiding Officer determines that a hearing on the motion is warranted. The Agency or Presiding Officer may grant requests for continuances for good cause shown or may, in the event of unexcused absence of a Party who received notice, permit the hearing to proceed. The unexcused Party's written motion or objections, if any, are to be regarded as submitted on the written papers. The Agency or Presiding Officer may rule on a motion without holding a hearing if delay would seriously injure a Party, or if presentation of testimony or oral argument would not advance the Agency or Presiding Officer's understanding of the issues involved, or if disposition without a hearing would best serve the public interest. The Agency or Presiding Officer may otherwise act on a motion when all Parties have responded or the deadline for response has expired, whichever occurs first. If the Agency or Presiding Officer acts on the motion before all Parties have responded and the time has not expired, the ruling may be subject to modification or rescission upon the filing of one or more subsequent but timely responses.
- Scope of Factual Basis for Hearing on Motions: The Parties may offer at a hearing on a motion evidence relevant to the particular motion. This evidence may consist of statements which are presented orally by sworn testimony, by affidavit, or which appear in admissible records, files, depositions or answers to interrogatories.
(b) Motion for More Definite Statement
If a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required is so vague or ambiguous that a Party cannot reasonably frame a response, the Party may, within the time permitted for such response, move for a more definite statement before filing its answer. The motion shall set forth the defects complained of and the details desired. If the motion is granted, the more definite statement shall be filed within ten days of the order allowing the motion or within the deadline determined by the Agency or Presiding Officer. If the more definite statement is not filed within the prescribed time, the Agency or Presiding Officer may either dismiss the proceeding, grant the relief sought, or make other orders the Agency or Presiding Officer believes just and appropriate. Also, if the motion is granted, the time limit for filing the response shall be automatically extended to 21 days after a copy of the more definite statement is received by the Party seeking to make response or to a deadline ordered by the Agency or Presiding Officer.
(c) Motion to Strike
A Party may move to strike from any pleading, or the Agency or Presiding Officer may on its own motion strike, any insufficient allegation or defense, or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent or scandalous matter.
(d) Motion to Continue
For good cause shown a scheduled hearing may be continued to another date:
- by agreement of all Parties with the permission of the Presiding Officer, provided the Presiding Officer receives a letter confirming the request and agreement before the hearing date; or
- by written motion to continue made by a Party at least three days prior to the hearing date; or
- by the Presiding Officer on his or her own motion or upon a motion to continue made at the scheduled hearing.
(e) Motion to Change Venue
Any Party may move to have a hearing held in a place other than the scheduled location. In deciding such motions the Presiding Officer shall consider the objections of Parties, the transportation expenses of the Presiding Officer, the possibility of conducting the hearing by means of telecommunication facilities, the availability of either stenographic services or a suitable recording system, the availability of a neutral and appropriate hearing site, the availability of witnesses because of their place of residence or state of health, and other appropriate matters.
(f) Motion for Speedy Hearing
Upon motion of any Party and upon good cause shown, the Presiding Officer may advance a case for hearing.
(g) Motion to Dismiss
- Grounds: Upon completion by the Petitioner of the presentation of his evidence, the Respondent may move to dismiss on the ground that upon the evidence, or the law, or both, the Petitioner has not established his case. The Presiding Officer may act upon the dismissal motion when presented, or during a stay or continuance of proceedings, or may wait until the close of all the evidence.
- Failure to Prosecute or Defend: When the record discloses the failure of a Party to file documents required by statute or by 801 CMR 1.00, to respond to notices or correspondence, to comply with orders of the Presiding Officer, or otherwise indicates an intention not to continue with the prosecution of a claim, the Presiding Officer may initiate or a Party may move for an order requiring the Party to show cause why the claim shall not be dismissed for lack of prosecution. If a Party fails to respond to such order within ten days, or a Party's response fails to establish such cause, the Presiding Officer may dismiss the claim with or without prejudice.
- Dismissal for Other Good Cause: The Presiding Officer may at any time, on his own motion or that of a Party, dismiss a case for lack of jurisdiction to decide the matter, for failure of the Petitioner to state a claim upon which relief can be granted or because of the pendency of a prior, related action in any tribunal that should first be decided.
(h) Motion for Summary Decision
When a Party is of the opinion there is no genuine issue of fact relating to all or part of a claim or defense and he is entitled to prevail as a matter of law, the Party may move, with or without supporting affidavits, for summary decision on the claim or defense. If the motion is granted as to part of a claim or defense that is not dispositive of the case, further proceedings shall be held on the remaining issues.
(i) Substitution of Parties
The Agency or Presiding Officer may, on motion, at any time in the course of a proceeding, permit substitution of Parties as justice or convenience may require.
(j) Consolidation of Proceedings
If there are multiple proceedings which involve common issues, a Party shall notify the Agency or Presiding Officer of this fact, stating with particularity the common issues. The Agency or Presiding Officer may with the concurrence of all parties and any other tribunal that may be involved, consolidate the proceedings.
(k) Motion to Reopen
At any time after the close of a hearing and prior to a decision being rendered, a Party may move to reopen the record if there is new evidence to be introduced. New evidence consists of newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered at the time of the hearing by the Party seeking to offer it. A motion to reopen shall describe the new evidence which the Party wishes to introduce.
(l) Motion for Reconsideration
After a decision has been rendered and before the expiration of the time for filing a request for review or appeal, a Party may move for reconsideration. The motion must identify a clerical or mechanical error in the decision or a significant factor the Agency or the Presiding Officer may have overlooked in deciding the case. A motion for reconsideration shall be deemed a motion for rehearing in accordance with M.G.L. c. 30A, § 14(1) for the purposes of tolling the time for appeal.
This information was last updated on 12/22/2008.