The Federal Trade Commission today adopted as final the interim rules amending Parts 3 and 4 of the agency’s Rules of Practice that were announced last December, and also further amended several rules and eliminated one. The amendments are designed to streamline and improve the agency’s “Part 3” adjudicative proceedings. They expedite the prehearing, hearing, and appeal phases; streamline discovery and motion practice; and ensure that the FTC can apply its substantive expertise, as appropriate, earlier in the process.
Today’s action is part of the FTC’s broad and systematic internal review of its adjudicative proceedings process. While the current rulemaking is now completed, the FTC will review the rules on a bi-annual basis and consider additional changes if warranted.
Through the Federal Register notice announced today, the Commission has made changes to several areas of the rules. First, the amendments eliminate Rule 3.11A (Fast Track Proceedings). The Fast Track Proceedings are unnecessary because of the expedited deadlines in the new Part 3 rules.
Second, changes in Rule 3.25 clarify the procedures for the Commission to consider possible settlements while a matter is in administrative litigation.
Third, Rule 3.31(g) has been amended to be consistent with a new federal rule of evidence regarding how parties must deal with documents subject to privilege that another party claims were inadvertently produced.
Finally, amended Rule 4.2 requires a party to file a redacted public version of a petition for certain types of Commission action (such as a petition to quash a subpoena) in non-Part 3 matters if it requests confidential treatment for the petition. The rule also makes other changes that will facilitate the development of a new Commission electronic filing system for adjudicative proceedings.
The interim rules adopted as final today remain in effect and continue to apply to all Commission adjudicatory proceedings that were commenced after January 13, 2009. The further revisions to rules and the elimination of Rule 3.11A will govern all proceedings that are initiated on or after the date the notice is published in the Federal Register.
The Commission vote to amend certain rules, eliminate one rule, and otherwise adopt the interim rules as final was 4-0. The notice containing these revisions is available on the FTC’s Web site at , and will be published in the Federal Register shortly.
Copies of the Federal Register notice detailing the final rules are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
(FTC File No. P072104)