FCC Fine Tunes Formal Complaint Process

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At its July Open Meeting, the FCC adopted an Order that streamlines and consolidates procedures governing formal complaints handled by the Enforcement Bureau (Bureau).  Among other changes, the new rules: (1) require defendants to answer a complaint filed against them within 30 days and complainants to file a reply within 10 days thereafter; (2) adopt a uniform approach to discovery in all formal complaint matters; (3) require “executive-level” pre-filing settlement discussions in all formal complaint proceedings; and (4) codify the Bureau’s practice of providing staff-supervised mediation services to parties wishing to negotiate settlement of their dispute.  In the Order, the Commission also commits to resolving formal complaints within 270 days, except for those complaints already subject to a shorter deadline.

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