(a) Adjustment of Matters Related to Hearing

A filed request for hearing does not prohibit an adjustment in the matters at issue prior to the hearing. If as a result of an adjustment, the Petitioner is satisfied and wishes to withdraw all or part of his appeal, he or she shall file a signed withdrawal in writing with the Agency or the Presiding Officer in accordance with 801 CMR 1.02(7)(a). A hearing shall not be delayed or canceled because of a proposed adjustment under consideration unless the Petitioner requests a delay or cancellation.

(b) Submission Without a Hearing

The Petitioner may elect to waive a hearing and to submit any documents without appearing at the time and place designated for the hearing. Submission of a case without a hearing does not relieve the Parties from supplying all documents supporting their allegations or defenses. Affidavits and stipulations may be employed to supplement other documentary evidence in the record.

(c) Notice of Hearing

The notice of the hearing must include the date, time, and place of the hearing, an explanation of the hearing procedure and an explanation of the Party's right to have an Authorized Representative present. Unless already provided in the notice of action under 801 CMR 1.02(6)(a)(1), the notice shall provide sufficient notice of the issues involved so that the Parties may have a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present evidence and argument. If the issues cannot be fully stated in advance of the hearing, they shall be fully stated as soon as practicable. In all cases of delayed statement, or where subsequent amendment of the issues is necessary, sufficient time shall be allowed after full statement or amendment to afford all Parties reasonable opportunity to prepare and present evidence and argument respecting the issues.

(d) Dismissals for Failure to Appear

If the Petitioner fails to appear at the hearing, the Presiding Officer shall notify the Petitioner in writing that a default will be entered against him unless within ten days from the date of said notice he files a motion for a rescheduled hearing, and the motion is granted. In the event a Petitioner fails to appear at the time and place of a granted rescheduled hearing, the appeal shall be dismissed and shall include an explanation of the manner in which dismissals may be vacated. Any motions to vacate a dismissal must be in writing, signed by the Petitioner or his Authorized Representative, and directed to the Presiding Officer. Dismissals shall be vacated only for good cause shown.

(e) Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute

The Agency or the Presiding Officer may order dismissal for failure to prosecute in accordance with the provisions of 801 CMR 1.01(7)(g)2.

(f) Presiding Officer's Duties and Powers at Hearings

The Presiding Officer shall have the duty to conduct a fair hearing to ensure that the rights of all parties are protected; to define issues; to receive and consider all relevant and reliable evidence, including examining witnesses and authorizing the Agency to pay for an independent medical examination; to exclude irrelevant or unduly repetitious evidence; to ensure an orderly presentation of the evidence and issues; to ensure a record is made of the proceedings; to reach a fair, independent and impartial decision based upon the issues and evidence presented at the hearing and in accordance with the law; and to reconvene the hearing with notice to the parties at any time prior to the decision being issued.

(g) Rights and Duties of Parties

  1. Each Party may present his or her own case, or may be assisted by an Authorized Representative at his or her expense. The Party, or Authorized Representative, shall have a right to:
    1. present witnesses;
    2. present and establish all relevant facts and circumstances by oral testimony and documentary evidence;
    3. advance any pertinent arguments without undue interference;
    4. question or refute any testimony including an opportunity to cross-examine adverse witnesses; and
    5. examine and introduce evidence from his or her case record, and examine and introduce any other pertinent documents.
  2. The Agency, in addition to the rights and duties above, at 801 CMR 1.02 (10)(g)1.:
    1. is responsible for submitting at the hearing all documented information on which its action or motions are based;
    2. shall introduce into the hearing only material which pertains to the issues; and
    3. may designate and may send a staff person to the hearing to testify as to its action or inaction. In cases involving the judgment of the Case Manager relative to reduction, suspension, or termination of services, the Case Manager, or a person authorized to represent the Case Manager, shall be present at the hearing.

(h) Evidence

  1. General: The Agency or Presiding Officer shall admit and consider evidence in accordance with M.G.L. c. 30A, § 11(2).
  2. Presented at Hearing: Except as the Agency, its designee, or Presiding Officer may otherwise order, any documentary evidence on which a decision is based must be presented either at the hearing or, in cases submitted without a hearing pursuant to 801 CMR 1.02 (10)(b), before notification that the case is ready for decision. Copies of any evidence shall be provided to all other Parties.
  3. Oral Testimony: Oral testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation. Witnesses shall be available for examination and cross-examination.
  4. Stipulations: Stipulations may be used as evidence in accordance with the provisions of 801 CMR 1.01(10)(b).
  5. Additional Evidence: The Agency or the Presiding Officer may in any case require any Party or the Agency, with appropriate notice to all other Parties, to submit additional evidence on any relevant matter.

(i) Subpoenas

The Agency or the Presiding Officer may issue, vacate or modify subpoenas in accordance with M.G.L. c. 30A, § 12. Parties may issue subpoenas in accordance with M.G.L. c. 30A, § 12(3). Witnesses may petition the Agency to vacate or modify subpoenas in accordance with M.G.L. c. 30A, § 12(4).

(j) Scheduling

Upon receipt of a request for a hearing, the Agency or Presiding Officer shall within a reasonable time register the appeal, set a date and designate a site for a hearing, and notify all Parties. If the Petitioner has a disability or is otherwise unable to appear at the designated site, the Petitioner may request that the hearing be held at another convenient location. The Agency or Presiding Officer may grant such request.

(k) The Hearing Record

  1. Contents of the Record: All documents and other evidence offered or taken shall become part of the record, which shall be the exclusive basis of the decision. The record shall at reasonable business hours be available at the offices of the Agency or other designated location for inspection by the parties.
  2. Stenographic or Taped Record: All evidence and testimony at the hearing shall be recorded either stenographically or by Electronic Medium. The Presiding Officer shall arrange for verbatim transcripts of the proceedings to be supplied at cost to any Party upon request, at the Party's own expense. The Agency by rule may elect to supply a copy of the tape, disc or other audio-visual preserving medium employed at the proceeding to record its events in lieu of a verbatim transcript at the Party's own expense. The Agency or the Presiding Officer may permit any Party to maintain his or her own stenographic or electronic record.

(l) Continuances

The Agency or the Presiding Officer may continue a hearing by notifying all parties and authorized representatives of the date, time and place of the continued hearing.

This information was last updated on 12/22/2008.