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Subject 515-16-2 ADDITIONAL RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE IN TRANSPORTATION CASES

Rule 515-16-2-.01 Scope and Applicability

The rules contained in this Chapter 515-16-2 are in addition to, and designed to supplement, the Commission's general Rules of Practice and Procedure contained in Chapter 515-2-1, where different or supplemental rules of practice and procedure are needed in processing transportation cases. Use of such different or supplemental rules in processing transportation cases shall be at the discretion of the Hearing Officer or the Commission conducting a transportation hearing.

Rule 515-16-2-.02 Applications and Petitions

(1) All applications and petitions for Interim Certificates will be filed in such form as prescribed by the Commission. All applications must be accompanied by a current financial statement and an affidavit executed by an officer of the applicant corporation (if a corporation), applicant's owner (if a proprietorship), or a partner (if applicant is a partnership), containing information describing the number and types of vehicles being used. All applicants must meet a minimum net worth requirement, the dollar amount of which may be set from time to time by Commission Order. All applications will contain an affirmation by applicant of the applicant's familiarity with the Commission's rules and regulations and willingness to take and pass a written test thereon or to attend one monthly training course per year on such rules and regulations.
(2) All applicants submitting applications for passenger certificates or permits shall submit with, or as part of, each application filed with the Commission, a consent form to a criminal background check being performed on such applicant(s) and corporate officer(s).
(3) In proceedings involving applications for Interim Certificates, thirty (30) days' notice will be given. Publication of notice of assignment of hearing in the Fulton County Daily Report and posting a copy of the Transportation Division notice of assignment of hearing on the Commission's website at http://www.psc.state.ga.us will constitute notice.
(4) After notice has been posted for a period of ten (10) days if no protests have been received, the Commission will place application on the next Transportation Committee Agenda for consideration. If the Commission finds that application is in order at the Transportation Committee meeting, the application will be placed on the Administrative Session Agenda for approval to issue a twelve (12) month interim certificate.
(5) If application is protested, the respective parties must present oral testimony at the scheduled hearing. Copies of the application and supporting documents must be served upon the opposite party, his counsel or agent having control of the case not less than 5 days prior to the date matter has been assigned for hearing.
(6) Any motor carrier or motor carrier representative desiring to appear before the Commission at public hearing in opposition to an application seeking an interim certificate or amendment to existing certificate, need not file a formal petition for such appearance, but may become a party protestant at the public hearing provided he has notified the applicant and the Commission of his intention to appear at the hearing to protest the application. Such notification and request shall be made by letter or fax so as to reach applicant and the Commission at least fifteen (15) days prior to the assigned hearing date. No person who fails to so notify the applicant and the Commission as provided for above will be permitted to intervene in such a proceeding before the Commission except upon a showing of substantial reasons submitted in writing to the Commission prior to the hearing. Nothing in this rule shall be construed to deny any member of the general public the right to appear at public hearing to protest such application, and the Commission reserves the right, in its discretion, to waive the provisions of this portion of the rule.
(7) After applicant and protestant have presented all evidence and testimony at the public hearing, the Commission will take the matter under advisement and render a decision accordingly in the matter. If the Commission issues a favorable decision, a twelve (12) month interim certificate will be issued.
(8) Prior to the end of the twelve (12) month period, the Commission staff will review the carrier's records to determine the actual area being served, whether the applicant has complied with Commission rules and regulations, whether applicant has undergone the Commission's training program for books, record-keeping and compliance, and whether any complaints have been received. At that time the findings would be brought before the Commission for approval or denial of permanent certificate.

Rule 515-16-2-.03 Complaints

All complaints made to the Georgia Public Service Commission involving motor carriers must plainly and distinctly state the grounds thereof, all being set forth in writing. In like manner, all defenses must be made in writing and must plainly and distinctly state the grounds thereof. The complaint must be accompanied by supporting documentation such as invoice, bill of lading and/or claim forms. Other than matters pertaining to a statute rule violation where a customer refund is expressly authorized and the recovery of carrier overcharge above maximum tariff rates and except for disallowed towing rates and storage fees under O.C.G.A. § 44-1-13, the Commission is not empowered to adjudicate disputed freight loss, freight damage or other monetary claims between carriers and customers in transportation matters. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, nothing shall prevent the Commission staff from mediating a pre-litigation settlement of such monetary claims between a carrier and a customer and accepting carrier refund or payment for loss or damage to a customer in lieu of recommending assessment by the Commission of all or a portion of civil penalties authorized by statute or these Transportation Rules. If the involved parties reach an impasse, the parties would have to be referred to the appropriate court of competent jurisdiction for further resolution.

Rule 515-16-2-.04 Public Hearings

Unless otherwise directed by the Commission, all transportation applications, petitions or complaints, filed with the Commission, or actions initiated by the Commission shall be promptly assigned for hearing on at least thirty (30) days' notice or, in emergency situations, on any other date designated by the Commission; provided that a continued or postponed hearing requested by a carrier may be rescheduled in less than thirty (30) days' notice.

Rule 515-16-2-.05 Suspend, Revoke, Alter or Amend Certificate or Permit

(1) The Commission may at any time, after notice and opportunity to be heard, suspend, revoke, alter or amend any certificate or permit, if it shall be made to appear that the holder has willfully violated or refused to observe orders, rules, or regulations prescribed by the Commission or provisions of the Motor Carrier Acts, or any other law of this State regulating or taxing motor vehicles, for hire, and applicable to the holder of such certificate, or if, in the opinion of the Commission, the motor carrier is unfit, or not furnishing adequate service, or it is no longer compatible with the public interest to continue said certificate or permit in force or the continuance of said certificate or permit is not in conformity with the spirit and purpose of the law.
(2) It shall be unlawful for a carrier to conduct any operations after their authority has been canceled or during a period in which the certificate or permit is in suspension.

Rule 515-16-2-.06 Inspections by Commission's Representatives

(1) Commissioners or representatives of the Commission authorized to make inspections and to enforce these Transportation Rules and Regulations, upon providing proper identification as a Commissioner or Commission employee to any carrier or carrier officer or employee requesting such, shall have the right at any time to enter into or upon any terminal, station, garage, office, warehouse, impound lot, parking lot, or other premises owned, leased, operated or used by any carrier subject to the Commission's jurisdiction or upon any vehicle operated by such carrier in intrastate commerce within Georgia in order for the purpose of inspecting such carrier's books and records and motor carrier equipment and vehicles to ascertain such carrier's past and present compliance with the statutes and Transportation Rules administered by this Commission.
(2) Willful refusal of any person to produce its records for, and to permit such inspection or on-premises audit of records produced, by a visiting Commissioner or Commission Transportation Staff employee, with or without prior notice having been given for such visit, shall be sufficient grounds for suspension or cancellation of such carrier's Commission-issued registration, permit or certificate; provided, however, that the carrier affected thereby shall have 30 days to petition the Commission for a hearing as to any registration receipt, permit or certificate so suspended or cancelled.

Rule 515-16-2-.07 Failure to Observe Rules

Failure by any carrier subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission to comply with the Rules of the Commission, as amended from time to time, or with any Commission Order shall be cause for suspension, revocation of a certificate, permit, or registration receipt, and/or for assessment of civil or criminal penalties as specified in Chapters 515-16-3 and 515-16-14 of these Transportation Rules.