[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 105 (Tuesday, June 2, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 31303-31305]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-13167]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 955


Rules of Practice Before the Postal Service Board of Contract 
Appeals

AGENCY: Postal Service.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This document revises the rules of practice of the Postal 
Service Board of Contract Appeals to implement an electronic filing 
system.

DATES: Effective date: July 2, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Written inquiries may be addressed to Postal Service Board 
of Contract Appeals, 2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 600, Arlington, VA 
22201-3078.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Vice Chairman Gary E. Shapiro, (703) 
812-1910.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

    The Postal Service Board of Contract Appeals (the Board) recently 
has implemented an electronic filing system. Changes to the rules of 
practice before the Board in 39 CFR part 955 are necessary to 
accommodate the new system, and to establish rules relative to that 
system. No other changes to the rules have been made.

B. Explanation of Changes

    In Sec.  955.1, concerning jurisdiction, procedure, and service of 
documents in proceedings before the Board:
     Paragraph (b)(1) is amended to identify the internet 
address for the electronic filing system.
     Paragraph (c)(3)(ii) is amended to indicate when Board 
orders and decisions are considered received by the parties in the 
electronic filing system.
     Paragraph (c)(4) is revised to indicate when documents 
submitted by parties are considered received by the Board in the 
electronic filing system, and to clarify other language involving 
receipt of documents.
     Paragraph (c)(5) is revised to indicate when service of 
documents on the opposing party is required for purposes of the 
electronic filing system.
    In Sec.  955.2, the heading is revised to Initiation of appeals, 
and the text is revised to indicate how appeals may be initiated 
directly by a contractor following implementation of the electronic 
filing system.
    In Sec.  955.4, with regard to the forwarding of appeals, the text 
is revised to indicate how appeals are initiated when a contractor 
submits a notice of appeal to a contracting officer following 
implementation of the electronic filing system.
    In Sec.  955.5, concerning the preparation, contents, organization, 
forwarding, and status of the appeal file:
     Paragraph (a) is revised to eliminate the requirement for 
the Postal Service's counsel to provide a copy of the appeal file to 
the appellant, which becomes unnecessary under the electronic filing 
system, and to clarify the language of paragraph (a)(4) with regard to 
transcripts and affidavits included in the appeal file.
     Paragraph (b) is revised to eliminate the requirement for 
the appellant to provide a copy of an appeal file supplement to the 
Postal Service, which becomes unnecessary under the electronic filing 
system.
     Paragraph (c) is revised to reflect that appeal file 
documents submitted in the electronic filing system are not original 
documents.
     Paragraph (d) is revised to reflect appropriate rules for 
handling bulky, lengthy or out-of-size documents, and tangible evidence 
following implementation of the electronic filing system.
    In Sec.  955.7, with regard to the procedures required to file 
pleadings in cases before the Board:
     Paragraph (a) is revised to eliminate the requirement for 
the appellant to provide a copy of the complaint to the Postal Service, 
which becomes unnecessary under the electronic filing system.
     Paragraph (b) is revised to eliminate the requirement for 
the Postal Service to provide a copy of the answer to the appellant, 
which becomes unnecessary under the electronic filing system.
    In Sec.  955.10, with regard to prehearing briefs, a sentence is 
added to specify the deadline for filing prehearing briefs under the 
electronic filing system.
    In Sec.  955.13, concerning optional small claims and accelerated 
procedures, language in paragraph (a)(3) is amended to enhance clarity.
    In Sec.  955.14, with regard to settling the record, language 
requiring the availability of the record for inspection at the Board's 
location is removed from paragraph (a), since the record will be 
available in the electronic filing system.
    In Sec.  955.15, concerning discovery, language is added to 
paragraph (a) to clarify when discovery requests and responses should 
be filed under the electronic filing system.
    In Sec.  955.26, with regard to the appearance and representation 
by counsel of parties before the Board:
     Paragraphs (a) and (b) are revised to specify that 
attorneys for appellants and the respondent U.S. Postal Service shall

[[Page 31304]]

register in the electronic filing system and provide an email address.
     Paragraph (c) is revised to indicate that changes in email 
addresses or in representation of a party must be entered in the 
electronic filing system.
    In Sec.  955.27, concerning the withdrawal of an attorney, the 
revised language specifies that a motion or notice to withdraw from 
representation must include an email address for the person assuming 
responsibility for representation.
    In Sec.  955.29, with regard to decisions of the Board, the first 
sentence is revised to indicate that the Board will issue decisions 
through the electronic filing system.
    In Sec.  955.36, concerning effective dates and applicability, the 
revised language specifies that these amended rules will govern 
proceedings under part 955 docketed on or after July 2, 2015.

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 955

    Administrative practice and procedure, Government contracts.

    Accordingly, for the reasons stated, 39 CFR part 955 is amended as 
follows:

PART 955--RULES OF PRACTICE BEFORE THE POSTAL SERVICE BOARD OF 
CONTRACT APPEALS

0
1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 955 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 39 U.S.C. 204, 401; 41 U.S.C. 7101-7109.


0
2. In Sec.  955.1, revise the second and third sentences of paragraph 
(b)(1), add a new sentence at the start of paragraph (c)(3)(ii), and 
revise paragraphs (c)(4) and (c)(5) to read as follows:


Sec.  955.1  Jurisdiction, procedure, service of documents.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * * The Board's telephone number is (703) 812-1900, and its 
Web site is http://www.about.usps.com/who-we-are/judicial/welcome.htm. 
The Web site for electronic filing is https://uspsjoe.newdawn.com/justiceweb.
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (ii) Unless otherwise specified by the Board, orders and decisions 
shall be considered received by the parties on the date posted to the 
electronic filing system. * * *
    * * *
    (4) Manner of filings. Pleadings and other communications shall be 
filed using the electronic filing system unless the Board permits 
otherwise. Documents submitted using that system are considered filed 
with the Board as of the date/time (Eastern Time) reflected in the 
system. Documents mailed to the Board are considered filed with the 
Board on the date mailed as evidenced by a United States postmark. 
Filings submitted by any other means are considered filed with the 
Board upon receipt by the Recorder of a complete copy of the filing 
during the Board's working hours (8:45 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Eastern Time).
    (5) Service. If both parties to an appeal are participating via the 
electronic filing system, separate service upon the opposing party is 
not required. Otherwise, documents shall be served personally or by 
mail with the opposing party by an equally or more expeditious means of 
transmittal, noting on the document filed with the Board, or on the 
transmitting letter, that a copy has been furnished. The filing of a 
document by fax transmission occurs upon receipt by the Board of the 
entire legible submission by fax. Copies of simultaneous briefs shall 
not be filed electronically or otherwise exchanged by the parties but 
rather shall be filed only with the Board by mail, fax, commercial 
carrier, on in-person. The Board will distribute simultaneous briefs 
electronically, or otherwise as appropriate. The Board may determine 
not to extend a deadline for filing if the extension is necessary 
solely because the Board's fax machine is busy or otherwise unavailable 
when a filing is due. Submissions filed by fax shall be followed 
promptly by filing by mail.

0
3. Revise Sec.  955.2 to read as follows:


Sec.  955.2  Initiation of appeals.

    An appeal must be initiated by the filing of a notice of appeal (or 
equivalent). See Sec.  955.1(c)(4). The notice of appeal must be in 
writing and must be filed within the time specified by applicable law.

0
4. Revise Sec.  955.4 to read as follows:


Sec.  955.4  Forwarding of appeals.

    If a party seeking to file an appeal submits a notice of appeal to 
the contracting officer instead of filing it using the electronic 
filing system, the contracting officer shall indicate thereon the date 
of receipt and shall forward the notice of appeal, including any 
envelope or other wrapping indicating the date of mailing, within 10 
days to the Postal Service General Counsel's Office. A designee of the 
General Counsel promptly shall enter the resulting case into the 
electronic filing system.

0
5. In Sec.  955.5, revise the first sentence of the introductory text 
of paragraph (a), and revise paragraph (a)(4), and paragraphs (b), (c), 
and (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  955.5  Preparation, contents, organization, forwarding, and 
status of appeal file.

    (a) * * * Within 30 days from receipt of the Board's docketing 
notice, or such other period as the Board may order, the respondent's 
counsel shall file with the Board an appeal file consisting of all 
documents pertinent to the appeal. * * *
* * * * *
    (4) Transcripts of any testimony taken during the course of 
proceedings, and affidavits or statements of any witnesses on the 
matter in dispute made prior to the filing of the notice of appeal; and
* * * * *
    (b) Duties of the appellant. Within 30 days after receipt of a copy 
of the appeal file, the appellant shall supplement the appeal file by 
transmitting to the Board any documents not contained therein 
considered to be pertinent to the appeal.
    (c) Organization of appeal file. Documents in the appeal file or 
supplement, as applicable shall be arranged in chronological order 
where practicable, numbered sequentially, tabbed, and indexed, to 
identify the contents. Page numbering shall be consecutive and 
continuous from one document to the next, so that the complete file or 
supplement, as applicable, will consist of one set of consecutively 
numbered pages.
    (d) Lengthy documents. The Board may waive the requirement to 
exchange or electronically file bulky, lengthy, or out-of-size 
documents, or tangible evidence in the appeal file on a showing of 
impracticality or undue burden. Documents or tangible evidence subject 
to a waiver will be available for inspection at the Board.
* * * * *

0
6. In Sec.  955.7, revise the first sentence of paragraph (a) and the 
first sentence of paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  955.7  Pleadings.

    (a) * * * Within 45 days after receipt of notice of docketing of 
the appeal, the appellant shall file with the Board a complaint setting 
forth simple, concise and direct statements of each of its claims, 
alleging the basis, with appropriate reference to contract provisions, 
for each claim, and the dollar amount claimed. * * *
* * * * *
    (b) * * * Within 30 days from receipt of said complaint, or the 
aforesaid notice from the Board, the respondent shall prepare and file 
with the Board an

[[Page 31305]]

answer thereto, setting forth simple, concise, and direct statements of 
the respondent's defenses to each claim asserted by the appellant. * * 
*
* * * * *

0
7. In Sec.  955.10, revise the final sentence to read as follows:


Sec.  955.10  Prehearing briefs.

    * * * In any case where a prehearing brief is submitted, it shall 
be filed with the Board at least 15 days prior to the date set for 
hearing.

0
8. In Sec.  955.13, revise the first sentence of paragraph (a)(3) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  955.13  Optional Small Claims (Expedited) and Accelerated 
Procedures.

    (a) * * *
    (3) In cases proceeding under the Expedited Procedure, the 
respondent shall file with the Board a copy of the contract, the 
contracting officer's final decision, and the appellant's claim letter 
or letters, if any, within ten days from the respondent's first receipt 
from either the appellant or the Board of a copy of the appellant's 
notice of election of the Expedited Procedure. * * *
* * * * *


Sec.  955.14  [Amended]

0
9. In Sec.  955.14, remove the sentence at the end of paragraph (a).

0
10. In Sec.  955.15, add a sentence to the end of paragraph (a), to 
read as follows:


Sec.  955.15  Discovery.

    (a) * * * Except in connection with motions to compel or for a 
protective order, discovery requests and responses should not be filed 
with the Board.
* * * * *

0
11. Revise Sec.  955.26 to read as follows:


Sec.  955.26  Representation of the parties.

    (a) The term appellant means a party that has filed an appeal for 
resolution by the Board. An individual appellant may appear before the 
Board in his or her own behalf, a corporation may appear before the 
Board by an officer thereof, a partnership or joint venture may appear 
before the Board by a member thereof. Any appellant may appear before 
the Board by an attorney at law duly licensed in any state, 
commonwealth, territory of the United States, or in the District of 
Columbia. An attorney representing an appellant shall register in the 
electronic filing system, and file a notice of appearance. The notice 
of appearance must include an email address, mailing address, telephone 
number, fax number, and a jurisdiction in which the attorney is 
licensed to practice law.
    (b) The term respondent means the U.S. Postal Service. Postal 
Service counsel, who shall be an attorney at law licensed to practice 
in a state, commonwealth, or territory of the United States, or in the 
District of Columbia, designated by the General Counsel, will represent 
the interest of the Postal Service before the Board. Postal Service 
counsel shall register in the electronic filing system, and file a 
written notice of appearance with the Board. The notice of appearance 
must include an email address, mailing address, telephone number, fax 
number, and a jurisdiction in which the attorney is licensed to 
practice law.
    (c) References to contractor, appellant, contracting officer, 
respondent and parties shall include respective counsel for the 
parties, as soon as appropriate notices of appearance have been filed 
with the Board. A self-represented party or an attorney representing 
either party shall inform the Board promptly of any change in his or 
her email address, mailing address, telephone number, or fax number, 
and must enter the appropriate changes promptly in the electronic 
filing system.

0
12. Revise Sec.  955.27 to read as follows:


Sec.  955.27  Withdrawal of attorney.

    Any attorney for either party who has filed a notice of appearance 
and who wishes to withdraw from a case must file a motion or notice 
which includes the name, email address, mailing address, telephone 
number, and fax number of the person who will assume responsibility for 
representation of the party in question.

0
13. In Sec.  955.29, revise the first sentence to read as follows:


Sec.  955.29  Decisions.

    Decisions of the Board will be made in writing and sent to both 
parties through the electronic filing system, or otherwise as 
appropriate. * * *

0
14. Revise Sec.  955.36 to read as follows:


Sec.  955.36  Effective dates and applicability.

    These revised rules govern proceedings under this part docketed on 
or after July 2, 2015.

Stanley F. Mires,
Attorney, Federal Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2015-13167 Filed 6-1-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-12-P