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(1) The commission or hearing examiner will hear all contested cases based upon a prehearing order which contains the full contentions of the parties as to fact and law, along with their claims for relief. The prehearing order shall supersede all prior pleadings in the contested case. Where a hearing is conducted following the default of a respondent, by stipulation of the parties as to limited matters, agreed settlement or a consent order, the hearing examiner or the commission may waive the requirement of a prehearing order.

(2) The commission may direct a hearing officer, hearing examiner or member of the commission to conduct a prehearing conference and prepare or approve a prehearing order in any contested case or other matter which may be heard before the commission. The commission may also require a prehearing conference in situations involving numerous parties, complex issues of fact or law or a lengthy record for the purpose of simplifying issues or assisting the commission in making its determinations and orders.

(3) A hearing examiner or the commission may order preliminary prehearing conferences, prehearing conferences or other procedures to simplify evidence and issues for hearing or consideration and otherwise enter orders to regulate the conduct of contested case proceedings. Prehearing orders shall contain the contentions of fact and law of the parties, the issues to be considered and the relief sought by the parties. The order may contain matters such as witness and exhibit lists, procedural time limitations, motions, requests for admission and such other matters as may facilitate the hearing and disposition of contested cases.

(4) If a party fails to comply with an order to prepare a prehearing memorandum or portions of one, or fails to participate in any prehearing conference or proceeding, a hearing examiner or the commission may impose sanctions upon that party by way of dismissal of the complaint, default, limitation of evidence in support of or in defense to a complaint or otherwise. A party may be bound by a recital of contentions in a prehearing memorandum or provided for in a prehearing order and may be deemed to have waived any matter of prosecution or defense not contained in a prehearing order.

(5) The prehearing order is substituted for the pleadings in a contested case and the order shall constitute the standard of relevance at hearing. The allowance of testimony, exhibits, or other evidence at hearing which is beyond the scope of the prehearing order is within the sound discretion of the hearing examiner or the commission.

(6) The hearing examiner or the commission may require the parties to exchange exhibits or summaries of evidence prior to hearing and submit all exhibits for entry in the record prior to hearing. The contentions of the parties as to fact and law contained in a prehearing order may be treated as the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and proposed orders, subject to such further submissions in argument as may be permitted.

History: 49-2-204 and 49-3-106, MCA; IMP, 49-2-505 and 49-3-308, MCA; NEW, 1988 MAR p. 1194, Eff. 6/10/88; AMD, 1998 MAR p. 3201, Eff. 12/4/98.

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