RULE 16 - PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE
Section 1. Policy. - The Commission encourages the use of pre-trial conferences as a means of making more effective use of hearing time and to otherwise aid in the disposition of the proceeding or the settlement thereof. Having the issues clearly delineated in advance of hearing and the ground rules for the conduct of the hearing well understood may be particularly beneficial in complex or multi-party proceedings. For applications or petitions filed with the Commission, the pre-trial conference may proceed immediately after the applicant or petitioner has submitted its compliance with the jurisdictional requirements.
Section 2. Matters to be Taken Up During Pre-Trial Conference. - The Commission may require that a pre-trial conference be held with the parties for the purpose of formulating and simplifying the issues in the proceeding or addressing other matters that may expedite orderly conduct and disposition of the proceeding. Such matters may include:
(a) the necessity or desirability of having an expository hearing or consumer forum during which the applicant or petitioner will be required to make an informal presentation of the application or petition and to respond to public comments or requests for clarification from the consumers;
(b) the necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
(c) the possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and documents which will avoid unnecessary proof;
(d) limitations on the number of witnesses or time allocated to particular witnesses or issues at the hearings;
(e) procedures at the hearing and hearing schedule;
(f) the submission of written testimony and exhibits to be offered at the hearing and the marking thereof;
(g) the consideration of outstanding motions and petitions to intervene;
(h) agreements regarding service of documents;
(i) the status of any settlement negotiations, if appropriate, and the possibility of submission to alternative modes of dispute resolution; and
(j) other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the proceeding.
Section 3. Pre-Trial Brief. - The Commission may require any one or all of the parties to a proceeding to file at least five (5) days before the date of initial hearing or date set for pre-trial conference a pre-trial brief containing, among others:
(a) a summary of admitted facts and proposed stipulation of facts;
(b) the issues to be tried or resolved;
(c) the documents or exhibits to be presented, stating the purpose thereof and proposed markings therefor; and
(d) the number and names of the witnesses, with their written testimony in affidavit form, if already available, to be attached to the pre-trial brief.
Failure to file the pre-trial brief shall have the same effect as failure to appear at the pre-trial conference.
Section 4. Appearance of Parties. - All parties or their duly authorized representatives shall attend the pre-trial conference fully prepared for a productive discussion of all matters and fully authorized to make commitments or take positions. Failure of any party to attend or be represented during the pre-trial conference without good cause shown shall constitute a waiver of any objection to any agreement reached or to any order or ruling made as a result of the conference.
Section 5. Pre-Trial Order. - Upon termination of the pre-trial conference, the Commission shall issue an order stating the matters taken up during the conference, the action taken thereon, the amendments allowed to the pleadings, and the agreements or admissions made by the parties as to any of the matters considered. The order shall control the subsequent course of the proceedings, unless modified by the Commission to prevent manifest injustice.