BRIEFS, FINDINGS OF FACT, CLOSE OF RECORD
AND ORAL ARGUMENT


§ 131.101. Briefs, findings of fact and close of record.

 (a)  The judge may require the parties to submit proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and legal briefs or memoranda to the judge for review and consideration.

 (b)  Submissions referred to in subsection (a) shall be made within the time specified by the judge, but not later than 30 days following the close of the record.

 (c)  The evidentiary record is closed when the parties have submitted all of their evidence and rested or when the judge has closed the evidentiary record on a party’s motion or the judge’s own motion. If the judge determines that additional hearings are necessary, or that additional evidence needs to be submitted, or if the judge schedules additional written or oral argument, the evidentiary record may be held open by the judge. When the judge determines that the evidentiary record is closed, the judge will notify the parties that the evidentiary record is closed on the record or in writing.

 (d)  A party may move to close the evidentiary record and all other parties shall advise the judge within 20 days as to whether the evidentiary record is closed or whether there is additional evidence to be submitted. At the conclusion of the 20-day period, the judge will determine whether the evidentiary record will be closed or will remain open.

 (e)  A judge may close the evidentiary record on the judge’s own motion even if all parties have not rested when the judge determines that the parties have had reasonable opportunity to present their case, provided that reasonable notice of the closing of the evidentiary record has been given to all parties.

 (f)  All parties shall provide a certification of the contents of the evidentiary record before the judge, including hearing dates, a list of witnesses testifying and a list of offered exhibits. The certification of the evidentiary record shall be provided to the judge after the close of the evidentiary record and at or before the filing of proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law or brief. The judge will specify the contents of the evidentiary record in the decision.

 (g)  Proposed findings of fact, proposed conclusions of law, briefs and certification of the evidentiary record not timely filed with the judge may not be considered unless, in advance of the date specified in this section, a request for an extension of time has been made to, and granted by, the judge for good cause shown.

 (h)  Briefs submitted under this section shall consist of at least the following items separately and distinctly set forth:

   (1)  A short statement of the questions involved.

   (2)  A statement of the facts by the moving party or counter-statement of the facts by the responding party.

   (3)  An argument.

   (4)  Short conclusions setting forth the precise relief sought.

   (5)  A proof of service.

 (i)  Subsections (a)—(h) supersede 1 Pa. Code § §  35.54, 35.55, 35.131—35.133, 35.163, 35.173, 35.191—35.193, 35.212, 35.221 and 35.231—35.233 and also supersede 1 Pa. Code Chapter 35, Subchapter D.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  131.101 amended under sections 401.1 and 435(a) and (c) of the Workers’ Compensation Act (77 P. S. § §  710 and 991(a) and (c)); section 2205 of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. §  565); and section 414 of The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act (77 P. S. §  1514).

Source

   The provisions of this §  131.101 adopted March 29, 1991, effective March 30, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 1401; amended December 6, 2002, effective December 7, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 6043. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (289737).

Notes of Decisions

   Right to Full Hearing

   Where a party requests a period of time to prepare proposed findings of fact, conclusions and a memorandum of law, and the referee does not respond to the request, then files his decision prior to the expiration of the period of time requested, the referee’s decision violates the right to a full hearing under this section and the 45-day limit does not apply where circumstances suggest that neither the parties nor the referee gave much attention to subsection (b). Newtown Township v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board, 459 A.2d 1372 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1983). (Editor’s Note: The court cited to former §  131.61 which dealt with briefs).

   The sanctions for failure to timely file a brief as set forth in §  131.101(c) are not the exclusive sanctions available to the workers’ compensation judge (WCJ) it was therefore not error for the WCJ to deny the claimant statutory interest on his benefits during the unexcused period during which his brief was overdue. Johnakin v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, 806 A.2d 950 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2002).

Cross References

   This section cited in 34 Pa. Code §  131.66 (relating to admissibility of oral admissions).



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