One of the following procedures may be used to resolve complaints:
- The Commission may assign a case to be resolved through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures in cases where the affected parties consent, or the Commission may order the appointment of a settlement judge.
- The Commission may issue an order on the merits based upon the pleadings.
- The Commission may establish a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Since ADR is a voluntary process, the time period in which a decision can be rendered is largely in the control of the affected parties. The Commission, however, would treat ADR resolution like uncontested settlements, and would, therefore, expect to issue any subsequent orders no later than 45 days after the ADR resolution is rendered.
A decision by the Commission on the merits based on the pleadings would expect to issue within 60-90 days after an answer is filed.
When a complaint is set for hearing before an ALJ, the objective will be for the ALJ to render an initial decision no later than 60 days after the case is set for hearing. Briefs on exceptions to an initial decision would be due, under the Commission's rules, 30 days after the initial decision, and briefs opposing exceptions, 20 days thereafter. The Commission would expect to issue an order on the exceptions no later than 90 days after their filing.
Parties involved with complaints that have been set for hearing may also enter into an ADR process by mutual consent and with an understanding from the presiding judge that the hearing schedule may or may not be suspended.
The Commission is supportive of voluntary ADR occurring at any stage of the regulatory process - and in so keeping the Office of Administrative Litigation (OAL) is prepared to assist the parties in selecting the appropriate ADR form and neutral for their case even after the case has been set for hearing. OAL's ADR efforts to assist the parties in developing an ADR process in cases that have been set for hearing will be coordinated by OAL's ADR Specialist.