Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 12.1. State Corporation Commission
Chapter 5. Procedure Before the Commission and Appeals
5/25/2022

Chapter 5. Procedure Before the Commission and Appeals.

§ 12.1-25. Rules of practice and procedure.

The Commission shall prescribe its own rules of practice and procedure not inconsistent with those made by the General Assembly. Such rules shall be printed and entered upon the records of the Commission. Copies of such rules shall be furnished to county and city clerks and to any citizen of this Commonwealth who makes application therefor.

Code 1950, § 12-49; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157.

§ 12.1-26. Public sessions.

The sessions of the Commission for the hearing of any complaint, proceeding, contest, or controversy instituted or pending before it, whether of its own motion or otherwise, shall be public, and its findings, decisions, and judgments shall be made public forthwith.

Code 1950, § 12-51; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157.

§ 12.1-27. Commonwealth to be complainant, etc.; parties entitled to process.

In all complaints, proceedings, contests, or controversies by or before the Commission instituted by the Commonwealth or by the Commission of its own motion, the Commonwealth shall be complainant, and the party against whom the complaint is preferred, or the proceeding instituted, shall be the defendant. Any party complainant or defendant in any complaint, proceeding, contest, or controversy shall be entitled to process, to convene parties, compel the attendance of witnesses, or the production of books, papers, and documents in any proceeding or hearing before the Commission.

Code 1950, § 12-52; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157.

§ 12.1-28. Notice and hearing.

Before promulgating any general order, rule, or regulation, the Commission shall give reasonable notice of its contents and shall afford interested persons having objections thereto an opportunity to present evidence and be heard. Every such order and notice of every such rule or regulation finally adopted by the Commission shall be published in the next annual report of the Commission, and a copy of the order, rule or regulation shall be delivered by the Commission to every person affected by it who requests a copy and copies shall be available to the public by application therefor to the Commission. This section shall control in the event it is deemed inconsistent with other provisions of law.

Before the Commission shall enter any finding, order, or judgment against any person, it shall afford such person reasonable notice of the time and place at which he shall be afforded an opportunity to introduce evidence and be heard.

Code 1950, § 12-54; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157; 1994, c. 15.

§ 12.1-29. Writs and process.

All writs, processes, and orders of the Commission shall run in the name of the Commonwealth, and shall be attested by its clerk, and shall be directed to its bailiff, and may be served, executed, and returned by the said bailiff, in any city or county of this Commonwealth, or by the sheriff, or any constable, of any city or county in this Commonwealth within his bailiwick. All writs, notices, processes, or orders of the Commission may be served, executed, and returned in like manner and upon like persons or property as the processes, writs, notices, or orders of the courts of record of this Commonwealth, and when so served, executed, and returned shall have the like legal effect.

Code 1950, § 12-56; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157.

§ 12.1-30. Rules of evidence to be as in courts of record.

The Commission, on hearing of all complaints, proceedings, contests or controversies, in which it shall be called upon to decide or render judgment in its capacity as a court of record, shall observe and administer the common and statute law rules of evidence as observed and administered by the courts of the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 12-57; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157.

§ 12.1-30.1. Meetings and communications between commissioners and parties or staff.

The Commission shall after public hearing, promulgate rules of practice and procedure pursuant to § 12.1-25 controlling meetings and communications between commissioners and any party, or between commissioners and staff concerning any fact or issue arising out of a proceeding involving the regulation of rates, charges, services or facilities of railroad, telephone, gas, electric, water, or sewer companies. The rules shall provide, among other provisions, that no commissioner shall consult with any party or any person acting on behalf of any party with respect to such proceeding without giving adequate notice and opportunity for all parties to participate.

1979, c. 343; 2016, cc. 191, 283.

§ 12.1-31. Hearing examiners; powers and duties; reports to be furnished to parties; responses by parties.

The Commission may appoint by written order hearing examiners, whose duties shall be defined in such order and who shall have all the inquisitorial powers and the right to require the appearance of witnesses and parties now possessed by the Commission. Hearing examiners may make either special investigations and reports for the information of the Commission, or, if so directed in such order, may conduct the hearing of any cause within the jurisdiction of the Commission, taking evidence upon such notice as is required. All hearing examiners shall report their findings to the Commission, and file therewith the testimony and exhibits received by them. The recommendations of such examiners shall be advisory only, and shall not preclude the Commission from taking further evidence.

A copy of the examiner's report shall be furnished to all parties to the proceeding in which the report is filed. The parties shall be allowed a reasonable time in which to respond and such responses shall become part of the record to be considered by the Commission in making a decision.

Code 1950, § 12-46; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157; 1978, c. 394; 1980, c. 247.

§ 12.1-32. Costs, fees, and expenses.

The authority of the Commission with respect to costs, fees, and expenses shall be the same as that of courts of record of this Commonwealth.

Code 1950, §§ 12-59, 12-60; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157.

§ 12.1-33. Fine for disobedience of Commission orders.

Any individual or business conducted by any entity other than an individual failing or refusing to obey any order or any temporary or permanent injunction of the Commission may be fined by the Commission such sum, not exceeding $5,000 in the case of an individual or $10,000 in the case of a business conducted by any entity other than an individual, as the Commission may deem proper; and each day's continuance of such failure or refusal shall be a separate offense. Should the operation of such order be suspended pending an appeal therefrom, the period of such suspension shall not be computed against the person, individual, or business in the matter of the liability to fines or penalties.

Code 1950, § 12-18; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157; 2000, c. 986.

§ 12.1-34. Punishment for contempt.

The Commission shall have the power to punish for contempt by fine not exceeding $1,000 or by confinement not exceeding six months, or by both, any person duly summoned to appear and testify before the Commission who fails or refuses to appear and testify, without lawful excuse, or who refuses to answer any proper question propounded to him by the Commission in the discharge of its duty or who conducts himself in a rude, disrespectful, or disorderly manner before the Commission or any of the commissioners deliberating in the discharge of duty in public session. Any person punished for contempt by confinement may be committed by the Commission to the jail of any city or county of this Commonwealth. The jailer thereof shall receive the person upon the commitment of the Commission attested by its clerk, and shall confine the person for the term of imprisonment specified in the commitment. The jailer shall receive for the board of any person so committed the same allowance made by law for other persons confined in the jail.

Code 1950, § 12-21; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157; 1991, c. 710.

§ 12.1-35. Judgments to be in favor of Commonwealth.

All judgments of the Commission shall be entered in favor of the Commonwealth and when collected shall be paid by the clerk of the Commission into the treasury of Virginia.

Code 1950, § 12-17; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157.

§ 12.1-36. Time judgment takes effect; interest.

The judgments of the Commission for fines or penalties, or for the recovery of money, shall take effect as of the date thereof, and when allowed by the Commission, the judgment shall bear interest from that date.

Code 1950, § 12-61; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157.

§ 12.1-37. Lien of judgment; docketing.

The judgments of the Commission for the recovery of money, fines, or penalties shall be a lien on the real estate of the judgment debtor when duly docketed and indexed in the judgment lien docket, as the judgments of courts of record are required by law to be docketed and indexed, in the county or city in which the real estate of the judgment debtor is located, and the lien of any such judgment may be enforced in equity before any court having jurisdiction. The clerks of the courts of the several cities and counties shall docket all such judgments on the lien docket of their respective courts when a copy thereof, certified by the clerk of the Commission, shall be presented for that purpose.

Code 1950, § 12-62; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157.

§ 12.1-38. Concurrent jurisdiction of Commission and courts.

Nothing in this title or in Title 56 shall be construed to take away or impair the jurisdiction of any court of this Commonwealth to hear and determine any proceeding, suit or motion of which it has jurisdiction, for the enforcement of any fine or penalty against any corporation under the laws of this Commonwealth, but the powers and jurisdiction of the Commission to hear, determine and enforce such fines and penalties shall be construed to be concurrent.

Code 1950, § 12-2; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157.

§ 12.1-39. Appeals generally.

The Commonwealth, any party in interest, or any party aggrieved by any final finding, decision settling the substantive law, order, or judgment of the Commission shall have, of right, an appeal to the Supreme Court irrespective of the amount involved; provided, however, that the petition for such appeal shall be filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court within 120 days from the final judgment or finding of the State Corporation Commission; and provided further that an appeal bond is filed pursuant to § 8.01-676.1.

No other court of the Commonwealth shall have jurisdiction to review, reverse, correct, or annul any action of the Commission or to enjoin or restrain it in the performance of its official duties; provided, however, that the writs of mandamus and prohibition shall lie from the Supreme Court to the Commission.

The Commission shall, whenever an appeal is taken therefrom, file in the record of the case a statement of the reasons upon which the action appealed from was based.

Code 1950, § 12-63; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157; 1977, c. 624; 2017, c. 651.

§ 12.1-40. Method of taking and prosecuting appeals.

All appeals from the State Corporation Commission shall be taken and perfected, and the clerk of the Commission shall make up and transmit the record on appeal, within 120 days from the date of the finding, order, or judgment appealed from. The method of taking and prosecuting any appeal from the Commission shall be as provided by the rules of the Supreme Court.

Code 1950, § 12-63; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157; 2017, c. 651.

§ 12.1-41. Petitions for writs of supersedeas.

Upon petition of the Commonwealth, any party in interest, or any party aggrieved, the Supreme Court may award a writ of supersedeas to any final finding, order, or judgment of the Commission. Any such petition shall be presented within 120 days from the date of such final finding, order, or judgment.

Code 1950, § 12-63; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157; 2017, c. 651.

§ 12.1-42. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1977, c. 624.

§ 12.1-43. Tax assessments, registration fee assessments, report forms, and correspondence mailed by Commission deemed delivered.

Tax assessments, registration fee assessments, report forms, and correspondence directed to a corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, registered limited liability partnership or business trust and mailed by the Commission by first-class mail addressed to the registered agent of the corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, registered limited liability partnership or business trust at its registered office shall be deemed to have been delivered to the entity.

If the corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, registered limited liability partnership or business trust has no registered agent, such mailing shall be deemed to have been delivered to the entity when mailed by the Commission by first-class mail addressed to the entity at its principal office address or when mailed or delivered in person to any director, the president, vice-president, secretary or any equivalent officer of the corporation, any member or manager of the limited liability company, any general partner of the limited partnership or registered limited liability partnership, or any trustee of the business trust. The names and addresses of such persons and the principal office addresses on record with the Commission shall be conclusive for the purposes of this section.

1971, Ex. Sess., c. 157; 1985, c. 522; 2000, c. 58; 2003, c. 373; 2007, c. 631; 2010, c. 675.