2000 - Rules and Regulations
Subpart PRules and Procedures Relating to the Recovery of Attorney Fees and Other Expenses
§ 308.169 Scope.
This subpart, and the Equal Access to Justice Act (5 U.S.C. 504), which it implements, apply to adversary adjudications before the FDIC. The types of adjudication covered by this subpart are those listed in § 308.01 of the Uniform Rules. The Uniform Rules and subpart B of the Local Rules apply to any proceedings to recover fees and expenses under this subpart.
§ 308.170 Filing, content, and service of documents.
(a) Time to file. An application and any other pleading or document related to the application shall be filed with the Executive Secretary within 30 days after service of the final order of the Board of Directors in disposition of the proceeding whenever:
(1) The applicant seeks an award pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(1) as the prevailing party in the adversary adjudication or in a discrete significant substantive portion of the proceeding; or
(2) The applicant, in an adversary adjudication arising from an action to enforce compliance with a statutory or regulatory requirement, asserts pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(4) that the demand by the FDIC is substantially in excess of the decision of the administrative law judge and is unreasonable when compared with such decision under the facts and circumstances of the case.
(b) Content. The application and related documents shall conform to the requirements of § 308.10(b) and (c) of the Uniform Rules.
(c) Service. The application and related documents shall be served on all parties to the adversary adjudication in accordance with § 308.11 of the Uniform Rules, except that statements of net worth shall be served only on counsel for the FDIC.
(d) Upon receipt of an application, the Executive Secretary shall refer the matter to the administrative law judge who heard the underlying adversary proceeding, provided that if the original administrative law judge is unavailable, or the Executive Secretary determines, in his or her sole discretion, that there is cause to refer the matter to a different administrative law judge, the matter shall be referred to a different administrative law judge.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 308.170]
§ 308.171 Responses to application.
(a) By FDIC. (1) Within 20 days after service of an application, counsel for the FDIC may file with the Executive Secretary and serve on all parties an answer to the application. Unless counsel for the FDIC requests and is granted an extension of time for filing or files a statement of intent to negotiate under § 308.179 of this subpart, failure to file an answer within the 20-day period will be treated as a consent to the award requested.
(2) The answer shall explain in detail any objections to the award requested and identify the facts relied on in support of the FDIC's position. If the answer is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, the answer shall include either supporting affidavits or a request for further proceedings under § 308.180.
(b) Reply to answer. The applicant may file a reply with regard to an application filed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(1), if the FDIC has addressed in its answer any of the following issues: that the position of the FDIC was substantially justified, that the applicant unduly protracted the proceedings, or that special circumstances make an award unjust. The applicant may file a reply with regard to an application filed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(4), if the FDIC has addressed in its answer any of the following issues: that the applicant has committed a willful violation of law or otherwise acted in bad faith, that the FDIC's demand is reasonable when compared to the decision of the administrative law judge or that special circumstances make an award unjust. The reply shall be filed within 15 days after service of the answer. If the reply is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, the reply shall include either supporting affidavits or a request for further proceedings under § 308.180.
(c) By other parties. Any party to the adversary adjudication, other than the applicant and the FDIC, may file comments on an application within 20 days after service of the application. If the applicant is entitled to file a reply to the FDIC's answer under paragraph (b) of this section, another party may file comments on the answer within 15 days after service of the answer. A commenting party may not participate in any further proceedings on the application unless the administrative law judge determines that the public interest requires such participation in order to permit additional exploration of matters raised in the comments.
(d) Additional response. Additional filings in the nature of pleadings may be submitted only by leave of the administrative law judge.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 308.171]
§ 308.172 Eligibility of applicants.
(a) General rule. To be eligible for an award under this subpart, an applicant must have been named or admitted as a party to the proceeding. In addition, the applicant must show that it meets all other conditions of eligibility set out in paragraph (b) of this section.
(b) Types of eligible applicant. The types of eligible applicant are:
(1) An individual with a net worth of not more than $2,000,000 at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated; or
(2) Any owner of an unincorporated business, or any partnership, corporation, associations, unit of local government or organization, the net worth of which did not exceed $7,000,000 and which did not have more than 500 employees at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated.
(3) For purposes of an application filed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(4), a small entity as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601.
(c) Factors to be considered. In determining the types of eligible applicants:
(1) An applicant who owns an unincorporated business shall be considered as an "individual" rather than a "sole owner of an unincorporated business" if the issues on which he or she prevails are related to personal interests rather than to business interests.
(2) An applicant's net worth includes the value of any assets disposed of for the purpose of meeting an eligibility standard and excludes the value of any obligations incurred for this purpose. Transfers of assets or obligations incurred for less than reasonably equivalent value will be presumed to have been made for this purpose.
(3) The net worth of a bank shall be established by the net worth information reported in conformity with applicable instructions and guidelines on the bank's Consolidated Report of Condition and Income filed for the last reporting date before the initiation of the adversary adjudication.
(4) The employees of an applicant include all those persons who were regularly providing services for remuneration for the applicant, under its direction and control, on the date the adversary adjudication was initiated. Part-time employees are included as though they were full-time employees.
(5) The net worth and number of employees of the applicant and all of its affiliates shall be aggregated to determine eligibility. The aggregated net worth shall be adjusted if necessary to avoid counting the net worth of any entity twice. As used in this subpart, "affiliates" are individuals, corporations, and entities that directly or indirectly or acting through one or more entities control a majority of the voting shares of the applicant; and corporations and entities of which the applicant directly or indirectly owns or controls a majority of the voting shares. The Board of Directors may, however, on the recommendation of the administrative law judge, or otherwise, determine that such aggregation with regard to one or more of the applicant's affiliates would be unjust and contrary to the purposes of this subpart in light of the actual relationship between the affiliated entities. In such a case the net worth and employees of the relevant affiliate or affiliates will not be aggregated with those of the applicant. In addition, the Board of Directors may determine that financial relationships of the applicant other than those described in this paragraph constitute special circumstances that would make an award unjust.
(6) An applicant that participates in a proceeding primarily on behalf of one or more other persons or entities that would be ineligible is not itself eligible for an award.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 308.172]
§ 308.173 Prevailing party.
(a) General rule. An eligible applicant who, following an adversary adjudication has gained victory on the merits in the proceeding is a "prevailing party". An eligible applicant may be a "prevailing party" if a settlement of the proceeding was effected on terms favorable to it or if the proceeding against it has been dismissed. In appropriate situations an applicant may also have prevailed if the outcome of the proceeding has substantially vindicated the applicant's position on the significant substantive matters at issue, even though the applicant has not totally avoided adverse final action.
(b) Segregation of costs. When a proceeding has presented a number of discrete substantive issues, an applicant may have prevailed even though all the issues were not resolved in its favor. If such an applicant is deemed to have prevailed, any award shall be based on the fees and expenses incurred in connection with the discrete significant substantive issue or issues on which the applicant's position has been upheld. If such segregation of costs is not practicable, the award may be based on a fair proration of those fees and expenses incurred in the entire proceeding which would be recoverable under § 308.175 if proration were not performed, whether separate or prorated treatment is appropriate, and the appropriate proration percentage, shall be determined on the facts of the particular case. Attention shall be given to the significance and nature of the respective issues and their separability and interrelationship.
§ 308.174 Standards for awards.
(a) For applications filed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(1), a prevailing applicant may receive an award for fees and expenses unless the position of the FDIC during the proceeding was substantially justified or special circumstances make the award unjust. An award will be reduced or denied if the applicant has unduly or unreasonably protracted the proceedings. Awards for fees and expenses incurred before the date on which the adversary adjudication was initiated are allowable if their incurrence was necessary to prepare for the proceeding.
(b) For applications filed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(4), an applicant may receive an award unless the demand by the FDIC was reasonable when compared with the decision of the administrative law judge, the applicant has committed a willful violation of law or otherwise acted in bad faith, or special circumstances make an award unjust.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 308.174]
§ 308.175 Measure of awards.
(a) General rule. Awards will be based on rates customarily charged by persons engaged in the business of acting as attorneys, agents, and expert witnesses, even if the services were made available without charge or at a reduced rate, provided that no award under this subpart for the fee of an attorney or agent may exceed $125 per hour. No award to compensate an expert witness may exceed the highest rate at which the FDIC pays expert witnesses. An award may include the reasonable expenses of the attorney, agent, or expert witness as a separate item, if the attorney, agent, or expert witness ordinarily charges clients separately for such expenses. "Fees and expenses awarded under 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(4) related to defending against an excessive demand shall be paid only as a consequence of appropriations paid in advance".
(b) Determination of reasonableness of fees. In determining the reasonableness of the fee sought for an attorney, agent, or expert witness, the administrative law judge shall consider the following:
(1) If the attorney, agent, or expert witness is in private practice, his or her customary fee for like services, or, if he or she is an employee of the applicant, the fully allocated cost of the services;
(2) The prevailing rate for similar services in the community in which the attorney, agent, or expert witness ordinarily performs services;
(3) The time actually spent in the representation of the applicant;
(4) The time reasonably spent in light of the difficulty or complexity of the issues in the proceeding; and
(5) Such other factors as may bear on the value of the services provided.
(c) Awards for studies. The reasonable cost of any study, analysis, test, project, or similar matter prepared on behalf of an applicant may be awarded to the extent that the charge for the service does not exceed the prevailing rate payable for similar services, and the study or other matter was necessary for preparation of the applicant's case and not otherwise required by law or sound business or financial practice.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 308.175]
[Section 308.175 amended at 64 Fed. Reg. 62102, November 16, 1999]
§ 308.176 Application for awards.
(a) Contents. An application for an award of fees and expenses under this subpart shall contain:
(1) The name of the applicant and an identification of the proceeding;
(2) For applications filed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(1), a showing that the applicant has prevailed, and an identification of each issue with regard to which the applicant believes that the position of the FDIC in the proceeding was not substantially justified;
(3) For applications filed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(4), a showing that the demand by the FDIC is substantially in excess of the decision of the administrative law judge and is unreasonable when compared with such decision under the facts and circumstances of the case;
(4) A statement of the amount of fees and expenses for which an award is sought;
(5) For applications filed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(4), a statement of the amount of fees and expenses which constitute appropriations paid in advance;
(6) If the applicant is not an individual, a statement of the number of its employees on the date the proceeding was initiated;
(7) A description of any affiliated individuals or entities, as defined in § 308.172(c)(5), or a statement that none exist;
(8) A declaration that the applicant, together with any affiliates, had a net worth not more than the ceiling established for it by § 308.172(b) as of the date the proceeding was initiated;
(9) For applications filed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(1), a statement whether the applicant is a small entity as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601; and
(10) Any other matters that the applicant wishes the FDIC to consider in determining whether and in what amount an award should be made.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 308.176]
§ 308.177 Statement of net worth.
(a) General Rule. A statement of net worth must be filed with the application for an award of fees. The statement shall reflect the net worth of the applicant and all affiliates of the applicant.
(b) Contents. (1) The statement of net worth may be in any form convenient to the applicant which fully discloses all the assets and liabilities of the applicant and all the assets and liabilities of its affiliates, as of the time of the initiation of the adversary adjudication. Unaudited financial statements are acceptable unless the administrative law judge or the Board of Directors otherwise requires. Financial statements or reports to a Federal or state agency, prepared before the initiation of the adversary adjudication for other purposes, and accurate as of a date not more than three months prior to the initiation of the proceeding, are acceptable in establishing net worth as of the time of the initiation of the proceeding, unless the administrative law judge or the Board of Directors otherwise requires.
(2) In the case of applicants or affiliates that are not banks, net worth shall be considered for the purposes of this subpart to be the excess of total assets over total liabilities, as of the date the underlying proceeding was initiated, except as adjusted under § 308.172(c)(2). Assets and liabilities of individuals shall include those beneficially owned within the meaning of the FDIC's rules and regulations.
(3) If the applicant or any of its affiliates is a bank, the portion of the statement of net worth which relates to the bank shall consist of a copy of the bank's last Consolidated Report of Condition and Income filed before the initiation of the adversary adjudication. In all cases the administrative law judge or the Board of Directors may call for additional information needed to establish the applicant's net worth as of the initiation of the proceeding. Except as adjusted by additional information that was called for under the preceding sentence, net worth shall be considered for the purposes of this subpart to be the total equity capital (or, in the case of mutual savings banks, the total surplus accounts) as reported, in conformity with applicable instructions and guidelines, on the bank's Consolidated Report of Condition and Income filed for the last reporting date before the initiation of the proceeding.
(c) Statement confidential. Unless otherwise ordered by the Board of Directors or required by law, the statement of net worth shall be for the confidential use of counsel for the FDIC, the Board of Directors, and the administrative law judge.
§ 308.178 Statement of fees and expenses.
The application shall be accompanied by a statement fully documenting the fees and expenses for which an award is sought. A separate itemized statement shall be submitted for each professional firm or individual whose services are covered by the application, showing the hours spent in work in connection with the proceeding by each individual, a description of the specific services performed, the rate at which each fee has been computed, any expenses for which reimbursement is sought, the total amount claimed, and the total amount paid or payable by the applicant or by any other person or entity for the services performed. The administrative law judge or the Board of Directors may require the applicant to provide vouchers, receipts, or other substantiation for any expenses claimed.
§ 308.179 Settlement negotiations.
If counsel for the FDIC and the applicant believe that the issues in a fee application can be settled, they may jointly file with the Executive Secretary with a copy to the administrative law judge a statement of their intent to negotiate a settlement. The filing of this statement shall extend the time for filing an answer under § 308.171 for an additional 30 days, and further extensions may be granted by the administrative law judge upon the joint request of counsel for the FDIC and the applicant.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 308.179]
§ 308.180 Further proceedings.
(a) General rule. Ordinarily, the determination of a recommended award will be made by the administrative law judge on the basis of the written record. However, on request of either the applicant or the FDIC, or on his or her own initiative, the administrative law judge may order further proceedings such as an informal conference, oral argument, additional written submissions, or an evidentiary hearing. Such further proceedings will be held only when necessary for full and fair resolution of the issues arising from the application and will be conducted promptly and expeditiously.
(b) Request for further proceedings. A request for further proceedings under this section shall specifically identify the information sought or the issues in dispute and shall explain why additional proceedings are necessary.
(c) Hearing. Ordinarily, the administrative law judge shall hold an oral evidentiary hearing only on disputed issues of material fact which cannot be adequately resolved through written submissions.
§ 308.181 Recommended decision.
The administrative law judge shall file with the Executive Secretary a recommended decision on the fee application not later than 90 days after the filing of the application or 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing, whichever is later. The recommended decision shall include written proposed findings and conclusions on the applicant's eligibility and its status as a prevailing party and an explanation of the reasons for any difference between the amount requested and the amount of the recommended award. The recommended decision shall also include, if at issue, proposed findings on whether the FDIC's position was substantially justified, whether the applicant unduly protracted the proceedings, or whether special circumstances make an award unjust. The administrative law judge shall file the record of the proceeding on the fee application and, at the same time, serve upon each party a copy of the recommended decision, findings, conclusions, and proposed order.
§ 308.182 Board of Directors action.
(a) Exceptions to recommended decision. Within 20 days after service of the recommended decision, findings, conclusions, and proposed order, the applicant or counsel for the FDIC may file with the Executive Secretary written exceptions thereto. A supporting brief may also be filed.
(b) Decision of Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall render its decision within 60 days after the matter is submitted to it by the Executive Secretary. The Executive Secretary shall furnish copies of the decision and order of the Board of Directors to the parties. Judicial review of the decision and order may be obtained as provided in 5 U.S.C. 504(c)(2).
§ 308.183 Payment of awards.
An applicant seeking payment of an award made by the Board of Directors shall submit to the Executive Secretary a statement that the applicant will not seek judicial review of the decision and order or that the time for seeking further review has passed and no further review has been sought. The FDIC will pay the amount awarded within 30 days after receiving the applicant's statement, unless judicial review of the award or of the underlying decision of the adversary adjudication has been sought by the applicant or any other party to the proceeding.
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 308.183]