Testimony by MSPB Employees and Production of Official Records in Legal Proceedings, 17967-17970 [06-3373]

Download as PDF 17967 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 71, No. 68 Monday, April 10, 2006 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each week. See 70 FR 74714 for additional information concerning this amendment of 5 CFR, chapter II. List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 1216 Administrative practice and procedure. MERIT SYSTEMS PROTECTION BOARD For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Merit Systems Protection Board amends 5 CFR, chapter II by adding parts 1211 through 1216 to read as set forth below: 5 CFR Part 1216 PART 1211—[RESERVED] Testimony by MSPB Employees and Production of Official Records in Legal Proceedings PART 1212—[RESERVED] AGENCY: Merit Systems Protection PART 1213—[RESERVED] PART 1214—[RESERVED] Board. ACTION: I Final rule. PART 1215—[RESERVED] This final rule amends the Merit Systems Protection Board’s (MSPB or ‘‘the Board’’) rules by setting out procedures that requesters have to follow when making demands on or requests to an MSPB employee to produce official records or provide testimony relating to official information in connection with a legal proceeding in which the MSPB is not a party. The final rule establishes procedures to respond to such demands and requests in an orderly and consistent manner. The final rule promotes uniformity in decisions, protects confidential information, provides guidance to requesters, and reduces the potential for both inappropriate disclosures of official information and wasteful allocation of agency resources. DATES: This final rule is effective April 10, 2006. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bentley M. Roberts, Clerk of the Board, U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 1615 M Street, NW., Washington, DC 20419; (202) 653–7200; fax: (202) 653– 7130; or e-mail: mspb&mspb.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 16, 2005, the Board published a proposed rule with request for comments that proposed to amend 5 CFR, chapter II. (70 FR 74714). The Board received no comments during the 60 days allowed for public comment and this final rule makes no changes to the previously published proposed rule. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:33 Apr 07, 2006 Jkt 208001 PART 1216—TESTIMONY BY MSPB EMPLOYEES RELATING TO OFFICIAL INFORMATION AND PRODUCTION OF OFFICIAL RECORDS IN LEGAL PROCEEDINGS Subpart A—General Provisions Sec. 1216.101 1216.102 1216.103 Scope and purpose. Applicability. Definitions. Subpart B—Demands or Requests for Testimony and Production of Documents 1216.201 General prohibition. 1216.202 Factors the MSPB will consider. 1216.203 Filing requirements for litigants seeking documents or testimony. 1216.204 Service of requests or demands. 1216.205 Processing requests or demands. 1216.206 Final determination. 1216.207 Restrictions that apply to testimony. 1216.208 Restrictions that apply to released records. 1216.209 Procedure when a decision is not made prior to the time a response is required. 1216.210 Procedure in the event of an adverse ruling. Subpart C—Schedule of Fees 1216.301 Fees. Subpart D—Penalties. 1216.401 Penalties. Authority: 5 U.S.C. 1204(h); 31 U.S.C. 9701. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Subpart A—General Provisions § 1216.101 Scope and purpose. (a) This part establishes policy, assigns responsibilities and prescribes procedures with respect to: (1) The production or disclosure of official information or records by MSPB employees, advisors, and consultants; and (2) The testimony of current and former MSPB employees, advisors, and consultants relating to official information, official duties, or the MSPB’s record, in connection with federal or state litigation in which the MSPB is not a party. (b) The MSPB intends this part to: (1) Conserve the time of MSPB employees for conducting official business; (2) Minimize the involvement of MSPB employees in issues unrelated to MSPB’s mission; (3) Maintain the impartiality of MSPB employees in disputes between private litigants; and (4) Protect sensitive, confidential information and the deliberative processes of the MSPB. (c) In providing for these requirements, the MSPB does not waive the sovereign immunity of the United States. (d) This part provides guidance for the internal operations of MSPB. It does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, that a party may rely upon in any legal proceeding against the United States. § 1216.102 Applicability. This part applies to demands and requests to current and former employees, advisors, and consultants for factual or expert testimony relating to official information or official duties or for production of official records or information, in legal proceedings in which the MSPB is not a named party. This part does not apply to: (a) Demands upon or requests for an MSPB employee to testify as to facts or events that are unrelated to his or her official duties or that are unrelated to the functions of the MSPB; (b) Demands upon or requests for a former MSPB employee to testify as to matters in which the former employee was not directly or materially involved while at the MSPB; (c) Requests for the release of records under the Freedom of Information Act, E:\FR\FM\10APR1.SGM 10APR1 17968 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 68 / Monday, April 10, 2006 / Rules and Regulations answers to interrogatories, affidavits, declarations, interviews, and statements made by an individual in connection with a legal proceeding. § 1216.103 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with RULES 5 U.S.C. 552, or the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a; or (d) Congressional demands and requests for testimony, records or information. Subpart B—Demands or Requests for Testimony and Production of Documents Definitions. The following definitions apply to this part. (a) Demand means an order, subpoena, or other command of a court or other competent authority for the production, disclosure, or release of records or for the appearance and testimony of an MSPB employee in a legal proceeding. (b) General Counsel means the General Counsel of the MSPB or a person to whom the General Counsel has delegated authority under this part. (c) Legal Proceeding means any matter before a court of law, administrative board or tribunal, commission, administrative law judge, hearing officer or other body that conducts a legal or administrative proceeding. Legal proceeding includes all phases of litigation. (d) MSPB means the Merit Systems Protection Board. (e) MSPB employee or employee means: (1)(i) Any current or former employee of the MSPB; (ii) Any other individual hired through contractual agreement by or on behalf of the MSPB or who has performed or is performing services under such an agreement for the MSPB; and (iii) Any individual who served or is serving in any consulting or advisory capacity to the MSPB, whether formal or informal. (2) This definition does not include persons who are no longer employed by the MSPB and who agree to testify about general matters, matters available to the public, or matters with which they had no specific involvement or responsibility during their employment with the MSPB. (f) Records or official records and information all information in the custody and control of the MSPB, relating to information in the custody and control of the MSPB, or acquired by an MSPB employee in the performance of his or her official duties or because of his or her official status, while the individual was employee by or on behalf of the MSPB. (g) Request means any informal request, by whatever method, for the production of records and information or for testimony which has not been ordered by a court of other competent authority. (h) Testimony means any written or oral statements, including depositions, VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:33 Apr 07, 2006 Jkt 208001 § 1216.201 General prohibition. No employee may produce official records and information or provide any testimony relating to official information in response to a demand or request without the prior, written approval of the General Counsel. § 1216.202 consider. Factors the MSPB will The General Counsel, in his or her sole discretion, may grant an employee permission to testify on matters relating to official information, or produce official records and information, in response to a demand or request. Among the relevant factors that the General Counsel may consider in making this decision are whether: (a) The purposes of this part are met; (b) Allowing such testimony or production of records would be necessary to prevent a miscarriage of justice; (c) Allowing such testimony or production of records would assist or hinder the MSPB in performing its statutory duties; (d) Allowing such testimony or production of records would be in the best interest of the MSPB or the United States; (e) The records or testimony can be obtained from other sources; (f) The demand or request is unduly burdensome or otherwise inappropriate under the applicable rules of discovery or the rule of procedure governing the case or mater in which the demand or request arose; (g) Disclosure would violate a statute, Executive Order or regulation; (h) Disclosure would reveal confidential, sensitive, or privileged information, trade secrets or similar, confidential or financial information, otherwise protected information, or information which would otherwise be inappropriate for release; (i) Disclosure would impede or interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation or proceeding, or compromise constitutional rights or national security interests; (j) Disclosure would result in the MSPB appearing to favor one litigant over another; (k) Whether the request was served before the demand; PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (l) A substantial Government interest is implicated; (m) The demand or request is within the authority of the party making it; and (n) The demand or request is sufficiently specific to be answered. § 12.16.203 Filing requirements for litigants seeking documents or testimony. A litigant must comply with the following requirements when filing a request for official records and information or testimony under this part. A request should be filed before a demand. (a) The request must be in writing and must be submitted to the Clerk of the Board who will immediately forward the request to the General Counsel. (b) The written request must contain the following information: (1) The caption of the legal proceeding, docket number, and name and address of the court or other authority involved; (2) A copy of the complaint or equivalent document setting forth the assertions in the case and any other pleading or document necessary to show relevance; (3) A list of categories of records sought, a detailed description of how the information sought is relevant to the issues in the legal proceeding, and a specific description of the substance of the testimony or records sought; (4) A statement as to how the need for the information outweighs any need to maintain the confidentiality of the information and outweighs the burden on the MSPB to produce the records or provide testimony; (5) A statement indicating that the information sought is not available from another source, from other persons or entities, or from the testimony of someone other than an MSPB employee, such as a retained expert; (6) If testimony is requested, the intended use of the testimony, and a showing that no document could be provided and used in lieu of testimony; (7) A description of all prior decisions, orders, or pending motions in the case that bear upon the relevance of the requested records or testimony; (8) The name, address, and telephone number of counsel to each party in the case; and (9) An estimate of the amount of time that the requester and other parties will require for each MSPB employee for time spent by the employee to prepare for testimony, in travel, and for attendance in the legal proceeding. (c) The MSPB reserves the right to require additional information to complete the request where appropriate. (d) The request should be submitted at least 30 days before the date that E:\FR\FM\10APR1.SGM 10APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 68 / Monday, April 10, 2006 / Rules and Regulations records or testimony is required. Requests submitted in less than 30 days before records or testimony is required must be accompanied by a written explanation stating the reasons for the late request and the reasons for expedited processing. (e) Failure to cooperate in good faith to enable the General Counsel to make an informed decision may serve as the basis for a determination not to comply with the request. (f) The request should state that the requester will provide a copy of the MSPB employee’s statement free of charge and that the requester will permit the MSPB to have a representative present during the employee’s testimony. § 1216.204 demands. § 1216.207 Restrictions that apply to testimony. Service of requests or Requests or demands for official records or information or testimony under this subpart must be served on the Clerk of the Board, U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 1615 M Street, NW., Washington, DC 20419– 0002 by mail, fax, or e-mail and clearly marked ‘‘Part 1216 Request for Testimony or Official Records in Legal Proceedings.’’ The request or demand will be immediately forwarded to the General Counsel for processing. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with RULES § 1216.205 demands. Processing requests or (a) After receiving service of a request or demand for testimony, the General Counsel will review the request and, in accordance with the provisions of this subpart, determine whether, or under what conditions, to authorize the employee to testify on matters relating to official information and/or produce official records and information. (b) Absent exigent circumstances, the MSPB will issue a determination within 30 days from the date the request is received. (c) The General Counsel may grant a waiver of any procedure described by this subpart where a waiver is considered necessary to promote a significant interest of the MSPB or the United States, or for other good cause. (d) Certification (authentication) of copies of records. The MSPB may certify that records are true copies in order to facilitate their use as evidence. If a requester seeks certification, the requester must request certified copies from the MSPB at least 30 days before the date they will be needed. The request should be sent to the Clerk of the Board. § 1216.206 Final determination. The General Counsel makes the final determination on demands to requests VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:33 Apr 07, 2006 Jkt 208001 to employees for production of official records and information or testimony in litigation in which the MSPB is not a party. All final determinations are within the sole discretion of the General Counsel. The General Counsel will notify the requester and, when appropriate, the court of other competent authority of the final determination, the reasons for the grant or denial of the request, and any conditions that the General Counsel may impose on the release of records or information, or on the testimony of an MSPB employee. The General Counsel’s decision exhausts administrative remedies for discovery of the information. (a) The General Counsel may impose conditions or restrictions on the testimony of MSPB employees including, for example: (1) Limiting the areas of testimony; (2) Requiring the requester and other parties to the legal proceeding to agree that the transcript of the testimony will be kept under seal; (3) Requiring that the transcript will be used or made available only in the particular legal proceeding for which testimony was requested. The General Counsel may also require a copy of the transcript of testimony at the requester’s expense. (b) The MSPB may offer the employee’s written declaration in lieu of testimony. (c) If authorized to testify pursuant to this part, an employee may testify as to facts within his or her personal knowledge, but, unless specifically authorized to do so by the General Counsel, the employee shall not; (1) Disclose confidential or privileged information; or (2) For a current MSPB employee, testify as an expert or opinion witness with regard to any matter arising out of the employee’s official duties or the functions of the MSPB unless testimony is being given on behalf of the United States (see also 5 CFR 2635.805). (d) The scheduling of an employee’s testimony, including the amount of time that the employee will be made available for testimony, will be subject to the MSPB’s approval. § 1216.208 Restrictions that apply to released records. (a) The General Counsel may impose conditions or restrictions on the release of official records and information, including the requirement that parties to the proceeding obtain a protective order or execute a confidentiality agreement PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 17969 to limit access and any further disclosure. The terms of the protective order or of a confidentiality agreement must be acceptable to the General Counsel. In cases where protective orders or confidentiality agreements have already been executed, the MSPB may condition the release of official records and information on an amendment to the existing protective order or confidentiality agreement. (b) If the General Counsel so determines, original MSPB records may be presented for examination in response to a request, but they may not be presented as evidence or otherwise used in a manner by which they could lose their identity as official MSPB records, nor may they be marked or altered. In lieu of the original records, certified copies may be presented for evidentiary purposes. § 1216.209 Procedure when a decision is not made prior to the time a response is required. If a response to a demand or request is required before the General Counsel can make the determination referred to in § 1216.206, the General Counsel, when necessary, will provide the court or other competent authority with a copy of this part, inform the court or other competent authority that the request is being reviewed, provide an estimate as to when a decision will be made, and seek a stay of the demand or request pending a final determination. § 1216.210 Procedure in the event of an adverse ruling. If the court or other competent authority fails to stay a demand or request, the employee upon whom the demand or request is made, unless otherwise advised by the General Counsel, will appear, if necessary, at the stated time and place, produce a copy of this part, state that the employee has been advised by counsel not to provide the requested testimony or produce documents, and respectfully decline to comply with the demand or request, citing United States ex rel. Touchy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951). Subpart C—Schedule of Fees § 1216.301 Fees. (a) Generally. The General Counsel may condition the production of records or appearance for testimony upon advance payment of a reasonable estimate of the costs to the MSPB. (b) Fees for records. Fees for producing records will include fees for searching, reviewing, and duplicating records, costs of attorney time spent in reviewing the request, and expenses generated by materials and equipment E:\FR\FM\10APR1.SGM 10APR1 17970 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 68 / Monday, April 10, 2006 / Rules and Regulations used to search for, produce, and copy the responsive information. Costs for employee time will be calculated on the basis of the hourly pay of the employee (including all pay, allowances, and benefits). Fees for duplication will be the same as those charged by the MSPB in its Freedom of Information Act regulations at 5 CFR part 1204. (c) Witness fees. Fees for attendance by a witness will include fees, expenses, and allowances prescribed by the court’s rules. If no such fees are prescribed, witness fees will be determined based upon the rule of the Federal district closest to the location where the witness will appear and on 28 U.S.C. 1821, as applicable. Such fees will include cost of time spent by the witness to prepare for testimony, in travel and for attendance in the legal proceeding, plus travel costs. (d) Payment of fees. A requester must pay witness fees for current MSPB employees and any record certification fees by submitting to the Clerk of the Board a check or money order for the appropriate amount made payable to the Treasury of the United States. In the case of testimony of former MSPB employees, the request must pay applicable fees directly to the former MSPB employee in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1821 or other applicable statutes. (e) Waiver or reduction of fees. The General Counsel, in his or her sole discretion, may, upon a showing of reasonable cause, waive or reduce any fees in connection with the testimony, production, or certification of records. (f) De minimis fees. Fees will not be assessed if the total charge would be $10.00 or less. Subpart D—Penalties § 1216.401 Penalties. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with RULES (a) An employee who discloses official records or information or gives testimony relating to official information, except as expressly authorized by the MSPB, or as ordered by a Federal court after the MSPB has had the opportunity to be heard, may face the penalties provided in 18 U.S.C. 641 and other applicable laws. Additionally, former MSPB employees are subject to the restrictions and penalties of 18 U.S.C. 207 and 216. (b) A current MSPB employee who testifies or produces official records and information in violation of this part shall be subject to disciplinary action. Dated: April 4, 2006. Bentley M. Roberts, Jr. Clerk of the Board. [FR Doc. 06–3373 Filed 4–7–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7400–01–M VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:33 Apr 07, 2006 Jkt 208001 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Parts 916 and 917 [Docket No. FV06–916/917–1 IFR] Nectarines and Peaches Grown in California; Revision of Handling Requirements for Fresh Nectarines and Peaches Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Interim final rule with request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This rule revises the handling requirements for California nectarines and peaches by modifying the grade, size, maturity, and pack requirements for fresh shipments of these fruits, beginning with 2006 season shipments. This rule also authorizes continued shipments of ‘‘CA Utility’’ quality nectarines and peaches, establishes weight-count standards for Peento type nectarines in volume-filled containers, and eliminates the varietal container marking requirements. The marketing orders regulate the handling of nectarines and peaches grown in California and are administered locally by the Nectarine Administrative and Peach Commodity Committees (committees). This rule will enable handlers to continue to ship fresh nectarines and peaches in a manner that meets consumer needs, increases returns to producers and handlers, and reflects current industry practices. DATES: Effective April 11, 2006. Comments received by June 9, 2006 will be considered prior to issuance of any final rule. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this rule. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Fax: (202) 720–8938, or E-mail: moab.docketclerk@usda.gov, or Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should reference the docket number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection at the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: http:// www.ams.usda.gov/fv/moab.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurel May, Marketing Specialist, California Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 AMS, USDA, 2202 Monterey Street, Suite 102B, Fresno, California, 93721; Telephone (559) 487–5901, Fax: (559) 487–5906; or George Kelhart, Technical Advisor, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Telephone: (202) 720–2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938. Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Jay Guerber, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Telephone: (202) 720– 2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938, or E-mail: Jay.Guerber@usda.gov. This rule is issued under Marketing Agreement Nos. 124 and 85, and Marketing Order Nos. 916 and 917 (7 CFR parts 916 and 917) regulating the handling of nectarines and peaches grown in California, respectively, hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘orders.’’ The orders are effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’ The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 12866. This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. This rule will not preempt any State or local laws, regulations, or policies, unless they present an irreconcilable conflict with this rule. The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. A handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA’s ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\10APR1.SGM 10APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 68 (Monday, April 10, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 17967-17970]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-3373]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each 
week.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 68 / Monday, April 10, 2006 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 17967]]



MERIT SYSTEMS PROTECTION BOARD

5 CFR Part 1216


Testimony by MSPB Employees and Production of Official Records in 
Legal Proceedings

AGENCY: Merit Systems Protection Board.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This final rule amends the Merit Systems Protection Board's 
(MSPB or ``the Board'') rules by setting out procedures that requesters 
have to follow when making demands on or requests to an MSPB employee 
to produce official records or provide testimony relating to official 
information in connection with a legal proceeding in which the MSPB is 
not a party. The final rule establishes procedures to respond to such 
demands and requests in an orderly and consistent manner. The final 
rule promotes uniformity in decisions, protects confidential 
information, provides guidance to requesters, and reduces the potential 
for both inappropriate disclosures of official information and wasteful 
allocation of agency resources.

DATES: This final rule is effective April 10, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bentley M. Roberts, Clerk of the 
Board, U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 1615 M Street, NW., 
Washington, DC 20419; (202) 653-7200; fax: (202) 653-7130; or e-mail: 
mspb&mspb.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 16, 2005, the Board published a 
proposed rule with request for comments that proposed to amend 5 CFR, 
chapter II. (70 FR 74714). The Board received no comments during the 60 
days allowed for public comment and this final rule makes no changes to 
the previously published proposed rule. See 70 FR 74714 for additional 
information concerning this amendment of 5 CFR, chapter II.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 1216

    Administrative practice and procedure.


0
For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Merit Systems Protection 
Board amends 5 CFR, chapter II by adding parts 1211 through 1216 to 
read as set forth below:

PART 1211--[RESERVED]

PART 1212--[RESERVED]

PART 1213--[RESERVED]

PART 1214--[RESERVED]

PART 1215--[RESERVED]

PART 1216--TESTIMONY BY MSPB EMPLOYEES RELATING TO OFFICIAL 
INFORMATION AND PRODUCTION OF OFFICIAL RECORDS IN LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

Subpart A--General Provisions
Sec.
1216.101 Scope and purpose.
1216.102 Applicability.
1216.103 Definitions.
Subpart B--Demands or Requests for Testimony and Production of 
Documents
1216.201 General prohibition.
1216.202 Factors the MSPB will consider.
1216.203 Filing requirements for litigants seeking documents or 
testimony.
1216.204 Service of requests or demands.
1216.205 Processing requests or demands.
1216.206 Final determination.
1216.207 Restrictions that apply to testimony.
1216.208 Restrictions that apply to released records.
1216.209 Procedure when a decision is not made prior to the time a 
response is required.
1216.210 Procedure in the event of an adverse ruling.
Subpart C--Schedule of Fees
1216.301 Fees.
Subpart D--Penalties.
1216.401 Penalties.

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 1204(h); 31 U.S.C. 9701.

Subpart A--General Provisions


Sec.  1216.101  Scope and purpose.

    (a) This part establishes policy, assigns responsibilities and 
prescribes procedures with respect to:
    (1) The production or disclosure of official information or records 
by MSPB employees, advisors, and consultants; and
    (2) The testimony of current and former MSPB employees, advisors, 
and consultants relating to official information, official duties, or 
the MSPB's record, in connection with federal or state litigation in 
which the MSPB is not a party.
    (b) The MSPB intends this part to:
    (1) Conserve the time of MSPB employees for conducting official 
business;
    (2) Minimize the involvement of MSPB employees in issues unrelated 
to MSPB's mission;
    (3) Maintain the impartiality of MSPB employees in disputes between 
private litigants; and
    (4) Protect sensitive, confidential information and the 
deliberative processes of the MSPB.
    (c) In providing for these requirements, the MSPB does not waive 
the sovereign immunity of the United States.
    (d) This part provides guidance for the internal operations of 
MSPB. It does not create any right or benefit, substantive or 
procedural, that a party may rely upon in any legal proceeding against 
the United States.


Sec.  1216.102  Applicability.

    This part applies to demands and requests to current and former 
employees, advisors, and consultants for factual or expert testimony 
relating to official information or official duties or for production 
of official records or information, in legal proceedings in which the 
MSPB is not a named party. This part does not apply to:
    (a) Demands upon or requests for an MSPB employee to testify as to 
facts or events that are unrelated to his or her official duties or 
that are unrelated to the functions of the MSPB;
    (b) Demands upon or requests for a former MSPB employee to testify 
as to matters in which the former employee was not directly or 
materially involved while at the MSPB;
    (c) Requests for the release of records under the Freedom of 
Information Act,

[[Page 17968]]

5 U.S.C. 552, or the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a; or
    (d) Congressional demands and requests for testimony, records or 
information.


Sec.  1216.103  Definitions.

    The following definitions apply to this part.
    (a) Demand means an order, subpoena, or other command of a court or 
other competent authority for the production, disclosure, or release of 
records or for the appearance and testimony of an MSPB employee in a 
legal proceeding.
    (b) General Counsel means the General Counsel of the MSPB or a 
person to whom the General Counsel has delegated authority under this 
part.
    (c) Legal Proceeding means any matter before a court of law, 
administrative board or tribunal, commission, administrative law judge, 
hearing officer or other body that conducts a legal or administrative 
proceeding. Legal proceeding includes all phases of litigation.
    (d) MSPB means the Merit Systems Protection Board.
    (e) MSPB employee or employee means:
    (1)(i) Any current or former employee of the MSPB;
    (ii) Any other individual hired through contractual agreement by or 
on behalf of the MSPB or who has performed or is performing services 
under such an agreement for the MSPB; and
    (iii) Any individual who served or is serving in any consulting or 
advisory capacity to the MSPB, whether formal or informal.
    (2) This definition does not include persons who are no longer 
employed by the MSPB and who agree to testify about general matters, 
matters available to the public, or matters with which they had no 
specific involvement or responsibility during their employment with the 
MSPB.
    (f) Records or official records and information all information in 
the custody and control of the MSPB, relating to information in the 
custody and control of the MSPB, or acquired by an MSPB employee in the 
performance of his or her official duties or because of his or her 
official status, while the individual was employee by or on behalf of 
the MSPB.
    (g) Request means any informal request, by whatever method, for the 
production of records and information or for testimony which has not 
been ordered by a court of other competent authority.
     (h) Testimony means any written or oral statements, including 
depositions, answers to interrogatories, affidavits, declarations, 
interviews, and statements made by an individual in connection with a 
legal proceeding.

 Subpart B--Demands or Requests for Testimony and Production of 
Documents


 Sec.  1216.201  General prohibition.

     No employee may produce official records and information or 
provide any testimony relating to official information in response to a 
demand or request without the prior, written approval of the General 
Counsel.


 Sec.  1216.202  Factors the MSPB will consider.

     The General Counsel, in his or her sole discretion, may grant an 
employee permission to testify on matters relating to official 
information, or produce official records and information, in response 
to a demand or request. Among the relevant factors that the General 
Counsel may consider in making this decision are whether:
     (a) The purposes of this part are met;
     (b) Allowing such testimony or production of records would be 
necessary to prevent a miscarriage of justice;
     (c) Allowing such testimony or production of records would assist 
or hinder the MSPB in performing its statutory duties;
     (d) Allowing such testimony or production of records would be in 
the best interest of the MSPB or the United States;
     (e) The records or testimony can be obtained from other sources;
     (f) The demand or request is unduly burdensome or otherwise 
inappropriate under the applicable rules of discovery or the rule of 
procedure governing the case or mater in which the demand or request 
arose;
     (g) Disclosure would violate a statute, Executive Order or 
regulation;
     (h) Disclosure would reveal confidential, sensitive, or privileged 
information, trade secrets or similar, confidential or financial 
information, otherwise protected information, or information which 
would otherwise be inappropriate for release;
     (i) Disclosure would impede or interfere with an ongoing law 
enforcement investigation or proceeding, or compromise constitutional 
rights or national security interests;
     (j) Disclosure would result in the MSPB appearing to favor one 
litigant over another;
     (k) Whether the request was served before the demand;
     (l) A substantial Government interest is implicated;
     (m) The demand or request is within the authority of the party 
making it; and
     (n) The demand or request is sufficiently specific to be answered.


Sec.  12.16.203  Filing requirements for litigants seeking documents or 
testimony.

    A litigant must comply with the following requirements when filing 
a request for official records and information or testimony under this 
part. A request should be filed before a demand.
    (a) The request must be in writing and must be submitted to the 
Clerk of the Board who will immediately forward the request to the 
General Counsel.
    (b) The written request must contain the following information:
    (1) The caption of the legal proceeding, docket number, and name 
and address of the court or other authority involved;
    (2) A copy of the complaint or equivalent document setting forth 
the assertions in the case and any other pleading or document necessary 
to show relevance;
    (3) A list of categories of records sought, a detailed description 
of how the information sought is relevant to the issues in the legal 
proceeding, and a specific description of the substance of the 
testimony or records sought;
    (4) A statement as to how the need for the information outweighs 
any need to maintain the confidentiality of the information and 
outweighs the burden on the MSPB to produce the records or provide 
testimony;
    (5) A statement indicating that the information sought is not 
available from another source, from other persons or entities, or from 
the testimony of someone other than an MSPB employee, such as a 
retained expert;
    (6) If testimony is requested, the intended use of the testimony, 
and a showing that no document could be provided and used in lieu of 
testimony;
    (7) A description of all prior decisions, orders, or pending 
motions in the case that bear upon the relevance of the requested 
records or testimony;
    (8) The name, address, and telephone number of counsel to each 
party in the case; and
    (9) An estimate of the amount of time that the requester and other 
parties will require for each MSPB employee for time spent by the 
employee to prepare for testimony, in travel, and for attendance in the 
legal proceeding.
    (c) The MSPB reserves the right to require additional information 
to complete the request where appropriate.
    (d) The request should be submitted at least 30 days before the 
date that

[[Page 17969]]

records or testimony is required. Requests submitted in less than 30 
days before records or testimony is required must be accompanied by a 
written explanation stating the reasons for the late request and the 
reasons for expedited processing.
    (e) Failure to cooperate in good faith to enable the General 
Counsel to make an informed decision may serve as the basis for a 
determination not to comply with the request.
    (f) The request should state that the requester will provide a copy 
of the MSPB employee's statement free of charge and that the requester 
will permit the MSPB to have a representative present during the 
employee's testimony.


Sec.  1216.204  Service of requests or demands.

    Requests or demands for official records or information or 
testimony under this subpart must be served on the Clerk of the Board, 
U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 1615 M Street, NW., Washington, DC 
20419-0002 by mail, fax, or e-mail and clearly marked ``Part 1216 
Request for Testimony or Official Records in Legal Proceedings.'' The 
request or demand will be immediately forwarded to the General Counsel 
for processing.


Sec.  1216.205  Processing requests or demands.

    (a) After receiving service of a request or demand for testimony, 
the General Counsel will review the request and, in accordance with the 
provisions of this subpart, determine whether, or under what 
conditions, to authorize the employee to testify on matters relating to 
official information and/or produce official records and information.
    (b) Absent exigent circumstances, the MSPB will issue a 
determination within 30 days from the date the request is received.
    (c) The General Counsel may grant a waiver of any procedure 
described by this subpart where a waiver is considered necessary to 
promote a significant interest of the MSPB or the United States, or for 
other good cause.
    (d) Certification (authentication) of copies of records. The MSPB 
may certify that records are true copies in order to facilitate their 
use as evidence. If a requester seeks certification, the requester must 
request certified copies from the MSPB at least 30 days before the date 
they will be needed. The request should be sent to the Clerk of the 
Board.


Sec.  1216.206  Final determination.

    The General Counsel makes the final determination on demands to 
requests to employees for production of official records and 
information or testimony in litigation in which the MSPB is not a 
party. All final determinations are within the sole discretion of the 
General Counsel. The General Counsel will notify the requester and, 
when appropriate, the court of other competent authority of the final 
determination, the reasons for the grant or denial of the request, and 
any conditions that the General Counsel may impose on the release of 
records or information, or on the testimony of an MSPB employee. The 
General Counsel's decision exhausts administrative remedies for 
discovery of the information.


Sec.  1216.207  Restrictions that apply to testimony.

    (a) The General Counsel may impose conditions or restrictions on 
the testimony of MSPB employees including, for example:
    (1) Limiting the areas of testimony;
    (2) Requiring the requester and other parties to the legal 
proceeding to agree that the transcript of the testimony will be kept 
under seal;
    (3) Requiring that the transcript will be used or made available 
only in the particular legal proceeding for which testimony was 
requested. The General Counsel may also require a copy of the 
transcript of testimony at the requester's expense.
    (b) The MSPB may offer the employee's written declaration in lieu 
of testimony.
    (c) If authorized to testify pursuant to this part, an employee may 
testify as to facts within his or her personal knowledge, but, unless 
specifically authorized to do so by the General Counsel, the employee 
shall not;
    (1) Disclose confidential or privileged information; or
    (2) For a current MSPB employee, testify as an expert or opinion 
witness with regard to any matter arising out of the employee's 
official duties or the functions of the MSPB unless testimony is being 
given on behalf of the United States (see also 5 CFR 2635.805).
    (d) The scheduling of an employee's testimony, including the amount 
of time that the employee will be made available for testimony, will be 
subject to the MSPB's approval.


Sec.  1216.208  Restrictions that apply to released records.

    (a) The General Counsel may impose conditions or restrictions on 
the release of official records and information, including the 
requirement that parties to the proceeding obtain a protective order or 
execute a confidentiality agreement to limit access and any further 
disclosure. The terms of the protective order or of a confidentiality 
agreement must be acceptable to the General Counsel. In cases where 
protective orders or confidentiality agreements have already been 
executed, the MSPB may condition the release of official records and 
information on an amendment to the existing protective order or 
confidentiality agreement.
    (b) If the General Counsel so determines, original MSPB records may 
be presented for examination in response to a request, but they may not 
be presented as evidence or otherwise used in a manner by which they 
could lose their identity as official MSPB records, nor may they be 
marked or altered. In lieu of the original records, certified copies 
may be presented for evidentiary purposes.


Sec.  1216.209  Procedure when a decision is not made prior to the time 
a response is required.

    If a response to a demand or request is required before the General 
Counsel can make the determination referred to in Sec.  1216.206, the 
General Counsel, when necessary, will provide the court or other 
competent authority with a copy of this part, inform the court or other 
competent authority that the request is being reviewed, provide an 
estimate as to when a decision will be made, and seek a stay of the 
demand or request pending a final determination.


Sec.  1216.210  Procedure in the event of an adverse ruling.

    If the court or other competent authority fails to stay a demand or 
request, the employee upon whom the demand or request is made, unless 
otherwise advised by the General Counsel, will appear, if necessary, at 
the stated time and place, produce a copy of this part, state that the 
employee has been advised by counsel not to provide the requested 
testimony or produce documents, and respectfully decline to comply with 
the demand or request, citing United States ex rel. Touchy v. Ragen, 
340 U.S. 462 (1951).

Subpart C--Schedule of Fees


Sec.  1216.301  Fees.

    (a) Generally. The General Counsel may condition the production of 
records or appearance for testimony upon advance payment of a 
reasonable estimate of the costs to the MSPB.
    (b) Fees for records. Fees for producing records will include fees 
for searching, reviewing, and duplicating records, costs of attorney 
time spent in reviewing the request, and expenses generated by 
materials and equipment

[[Page 17970]]

used to search for, produce, and copy the responsive information. Costs 
for employee time will be calculated on the basis of the hourly pay of 
the employee (including all pay, allowances, and benefits). Fees for 
duplication will be the same as those charged by the MSPB in its 
Freedom of Information Act regulations at 5 CFR part 1204.
    (c) Witness fees. Fees for attendance by a witness will include 
fees, expenses, and allowances prescribed by the court's rules. If no 
such fees are prescribed, witness fees will be determined based upon 
the rule of the Federal district closest to the location where the 
witness will appear and on 28 U.S.C. 1821, as applicable. Such fees 
will include cost of time spent by the witness to prepare for 
testimony, in travel and for attendance in the legal proceeding, plus 
travel costs.
    (d) Payment of fees. A requester must pay witness fees for current 
MSPB employees and any record certification fees by submitting to the 
Clerk of the Board a check or money order for the appropriate amount 
made payable to the Treasury of the United States. In the case of 
testimony of former MSPB employees, the request must pay applicable 
fees directly to the former MSPB employee in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 
1821 or other applicable statutes.
    (e) Waiver or reduction of fees. The General Counsel, in his or her 
sole discretion, may, upon a showing of reasonable cause, waive or 
reduce any fees in connection with the testimony, production, or 
certification of records.
    (f) De minimis fees. Fees will not be assessed if the total charge 
would be $10.00 or less.

Subpart D--Penalties


Sec.  1216.401  Penalties.

    (a) An employee who discloses official records or information or 
gives testimony relating to official information, except as expressly 
authorized by the MSPB, or as ordered by a Federal court after the MSPB 
has had the opportunity to be heard, may face the penalties provided in 
18 U.S.C. 641 and other applicable laws. Additionally, former MSPB 
employees are subject to the restrictions and penalties of 18 U.S.C. 
207 and 216.
    (b) A current MSPB employee who testifies or produces official 
records and information in violation of this part shall be subject to 
disciplinary action.

    Dated: April 4, 2006.
Bentley M. Roberts, Jr.
Clerk of the Board.
[FR Doc. 06-3373 Filed 4-7-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7400-01-M