(a) When discovery is available. (1) Parties may obtain discovery under this subpart regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in a proceeding other than an informal proceeding. For the purpose of this subchapter, informal proceedings are those not required to be determined on the record after hearing and include informal complaints and all proceedings assigned for initial disposition to employee boards under § 1011.5.
(2) It is not grounds for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible as evidence if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
(3) In cases using the simplified standards Three-Benchmark method, the number of discovery requests that either party can submit is limited as set forth in §§ 1114.22, 1114.26, and 1114.30, absent advance authorization from the Board.
(b) How discovery is obtained. All discovery procedures may be used by parties without filing a petition and obtaining prior Board approval.
(c) Protective conditions. Upon motion by any party, by the person from whom discovery is sought, or by any person with a reasonable interest in the data, information, or material sought to be discovered and for good cause shown, any order which justice requires may be entered to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, or to prevent the raising of issues untimely or inappropriate to the proceeding. Relief through a protective order may include one or more of the following:
(1) That the discovery not be had;
(2) That the discovery may be had only on specified terms and conditions, including a designation of the time and place;
(3) That the discovery may be had only upon such terms and conditions as the Board may impose to insure financial responsibility indemnifying the party or person against whom discovery is sought to cover the reasonable expenses incurred;
(4) That the discovery may be had only by a method other than that selected by the party seeking discovery;
(5) That certain matters not be inquired into or that the scope of discovery be limited to certain matters;
(6) That discovery be conducted with no one present except persons designated in the protective order;
(7) That a deposition after being sealed be opened only by order of the Board;
(8) That a trade secret or other confidential research development or commercial information not be disclosed or be disclosed only in a designated way; and
(9) That the parties simultaneously file specified documents or information enclosed in sealed envelopes to be opened only upon direction or order of the Board.
If the motion for a protective order is denied in whole or in part, the Board may, on such terms and conditions as it deems just, enter an order requiring any party or person to provide or permit discovery. A protective order under this paragraph may only be sought after, or in conjunction with, an effort by any party to obtain relief under § 1114.24(a), § 1114.26(a), or § 1114.31.
(d) Sequence and timing of discovery. Unless the Board upon motion, and subject to the requirements at 49 CFR 1111.2(f) and 1111.5(f) in stand-alone cost cases, for the convenience of parties and witnesses and in the interest of justice, orders otherwise, methods of discovery may be used in any sequence and the fact that a party is conducting discovery, whether by deposition or otherwise, should not operate to delay any party's discovery.
(e) Stipulations regarding discovery. Unless otherwise ordered, a written stipulation entered into by all the parties and filed with the Board may:
(1) Provide that depositions be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon sufficient notice, and in any manner and when so taken may be used like other depositions; and
(2) Modify the procedures provided by these rules for other methods of discovery.
(f) Service of discovery materials. Unless otherwise ordered by the Board, and subject to the requirements at 49 CFR 1111.2(f) and 1111.5(f) in stand-alone cost cases, depositions, interrogatories, requests for documents, requests for admissions, and answers and responses thereto, shall be served on other counsel and parties, but shall not be filed with the Board. Any such materials, or portions thereof, should be appended to the appropriate pleading when used to support or to reply to a motion, or when used as an evidentiary submission.
[47 FR 49562, Nov. 1, 1982, as amended at 61 FR 52713, Oct. 8, 1996; 72 FR 51377, Sept. 7, 2007; 81 FR 8854, Feb. 23, 2016; 82 FR 57381, Dec. 5, 2017]