«GUIDELINES FOR FILING A PROTEST OR CHARGE 1 of 3 pages UNITED STATES EQUESTRIAN FEDERATION - ALL THINGS EQUESTRIAN WHAT IS A CHARGE OR PROTEST? A ...»
GUIDELINES FOR FILING A PROTEST OR CHARGE 1 of 3 pages
UNITED STATES EQUESTRIAN FEDERATION - ALL THINGS EQUESTRIAN
WHAT IS A CHARGE OR PROTEST?
A Charge/Protest is a form which outlines an alleged rule violation(s) and must be submitted to the Show Committee or the Federation in accordance with GR602 – GR604. The forms can be obtained from the Steward/TD at a competition or on the Federation’s website. The form must include the name and date of the Competition (if applicable); the name and contact information of the accused person/entity; the specific rules/bylaws which are alleging to have been violated; the date of the violation; a detailed description of the acts which constituted the violation; and the name of the person filing the Charge/Protest along with their contact information.
Proponent: The person filing the Charge or Protest. The Proponent bears the burden of proof and must be able to substantiate the Protest or Charge through evidence, notarized affidavits, live testimony and/or witnesses with personal knowledge of the alleged rule violation.
Respondent: The person being accused of violating Federation Rules/Bylaws. The Respondent will have the opportunity to defend his/herself by live testimony, witnesses, evidence, and/or notarized affidavits.
WHO CAN FILE A CHARGE?
WHO CAN FILE A PROTEST?
A Protest is filed by any rider, driver, handler, vaulter, longeur, exhibitor, owner, agent, trainer, parent of a junior exhibitor, or any Life, Senior, or Junior member present at a competition. A fee of $200 for members and $300 for non-members must be submitted with the Protest and must be received by the Show Committee or Federation in accordance with GR602 and GR603.
WHAT IS A NOTICE OF CHARGE/PROTEST?
The Notice of Charge/Protest notifies the parties that the Charge/Protest has been filed and what the alleged violation is; the Federation has 60 days from the date the Charge/Protest is received to issue the notice. This also informs you how to submit evidence to the Federation on your behalf and details the options for resolving the matter. Please be advised that it is the responsibility of the proponent and the respondent to copy or forward any evidence for the case to one another. (GR608.4) Anything that is sent to the Federation will be considered evidence and should be forwarded to the other party at the same time. Any notice sent to the last known address on file with the Federation shall be deemed sufficient notice.
Can I be represented by Counsel? Yes, both the Proponent and Respondent have the right (not required) to be represented by legal counsel, which can be obtained at any point during the processing of the case. Counsel should send written notification of their representation to the Federation, which will allow staff to discuss the matter with him/her.
I RECEIVED THE NOTICE OF CHARGE/PROTEST...NOW WHAT?
After receiving notice of the Charge/Protest is your time to submit all your evidence, witness statements or anything else you wish to send to the Federation to either substantiate your claims for filing the Charge/Protest or to defend the allegations against you. The parties are required to copy one another on all documents and evidence sent to the Federation.
This is also your time to file a pre-hearing motion(s) if you wish to have this matter resolved outside of a hearing or if you do not believe the Charge/Protest was properly filed you may wish to request a dismissal. Pre-hearing motions must be received by the Federation in writing; the Federation will notify the other party of the request and should a response from them be appropriate they will be given a specific amount of time to respond to the request. All Pre-hearing motions filed will be reviewed by the Hearing Committee Co-Chairs for a decision.
PRE-HEARING MOTIONS THAT CAN BE FILED:
Withdrawal: Requested by the Proponent if they no longer wish to move forward with the Charge/Protest.
Dismissal: Requested by the Respondent if they do not believe the Charge/Protest is substantiated or filed properly.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO RESOLVE A CASE WITHOUT A HEARING?
Yes, the Proponent(s) or Respondent(s) has 7 business days from the date of the Notice of Charge/Protest to request that the Federation’s CEO or Executive Director
review the evidence and determine one of three things:
1. A plea agreement can be offered
2. Direct that the matter proceed to a hearing or
3. Recommend a dismissal of the Charge/Protest. It is not common for the CEO or Executive Director to recommend a dismissal, so if you feel the matter should be dismissed it is best to request this motion yourself.
The process whereby the CEO or Executive Director reviews the file is referred to as a GR617 Request.
GR617 REQUEST PROCESS.
• Upon receiving written request (simple email or faxed request is sufficient); notification will be sent to both parties, with the request attached giving them additional time to submit the evidence they wish to have considered by the CEO or Executive Director. Please note that if the Federation is not a party to the matter, staff will not do any investigation of the matter. It will be up to the parties to submit any and all evidence for the review. The CEO or Executive Director will only review the materials that have been submitted.
• Regulation Director will schedule meeting (this can take time) with the CEO or Executive Director to review the entire file. The CEO or Executive Director, will at his/her discretion, determine if the case should go before the Hearing Committee Panel, offer a plea agreement, or if the charge/protest should be dismissed.
• A plea agreement offer must be accepted by all parties and is subject to approval by the Hearing Committee. The parties offered the plea agreement shall, after written notice, be subject to any and all penalties im¬posed by the CEO or Executive Director, unless a timely written request for a hearing is made pursuant to the provisions of GR617.6 or unless the maker of the protest or charge challenges the plea agreement pursuant to GR617.8.
• If the CEO or Executive Director determines the matter is best suited for a decision by the Hearing Committee, the file will be scheduled for the next available set of Hearings and notification will be sent to the parties accordingly.
• If the CEO or Executive Director recommends a dismissal, their recommendation will be reviewed by the Hearing Committee Co-Chairs. If the maker does not agree with the dismissal recommendation, a written request can be made to the Hearing Committee along with, in the case of a Protest, a $500 payment and the matter will proceed to hearing. Should the Protest be upheld, the $500 is refundable.
I DO NOT WISH TO FILE A PRE-HEARING MOTION AND WANT TO GO TO A HEARING, NOW WHAT?
Before the matter proceeds to a hearing, it is the responsibility of the parties to support their case by submitting evidence to the Federation. Please note as stated above, both parties should be copying one another on all evidence submitted to the Federation. After receiving the Notice of Hearing or after the submission deadline, either party may request in writing to the other party, copies of the proposed evidence to be presented at hearing as well as the names of all witnesses and the substance of their testimony. (GR608.3)
NOTICE OF HEARING:
You will be notified, in writing, at least 20 days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing and will be given the day, time and location of the hearing. The Hearing will be held at the Federation’s Lexington, KY office unless otherwise stated in your Notice of Hearing. The parties will be given a deadline for submitting any additional evidence. Any evidence submitted after the submission deadline will be considered late and the opposing party can object to such evidence being included in the file for review by the Hearing Committee.
The notice will disclose the names of the Hearing Committee Panel members and the parties will have 7 days to make a written objection to any member of the panel if they believe in good faith said panel member cannot judge the matter impartially. The names of the Panel members are provided to the parties solely for purposes of determining whether there are any objections to the Panel. Parties are not to contact any of the named Panel members regarding their matter prior to the hearing as such could be considered unsportsmanlike, intemperate and prejudicial to the best interests of the sport and could subject that person to the penalties set forth in Federation rules.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING HOW HEARINGS ARE CONDUCTED PLEASE SEE PROCEDURE ON HEARING DAY
MOTIONS THAT CAN BE FILED IN CONNECTION WITH A SCHEDULED HEARING:
Upon receipt of your Notice of Hearing, there are a few motions that can still be requested and reviewed by the Hearing Committee Co-Chairs prior to the scheduled hearing date. These motions should be filed as far in advance of the hearing as possible as they will be reviewed by the Hearing Committee Co-Chairs during a
teleconference call. The possible motions are as follows:
“Request for the maker’s testimony not to be excused:” The Hearing Committee may excuse the requirement of personal testimony if the parties to the matter stipulate to the relevant facts. However, in any case where the Respondent advises the Federation and Hearing Committee at least 10 business days prior to the Hearing that he/she will be attending or will have a representative attending the hearing in person; he or she may request that the maker’s (Proponent) requirement of personal testimony not be excused, and require that the Proponent or a witness with personal knowledge of the matter at issue (who will be subject to cross-examination) be in attendance at the hearing. The Hearing Committee may then choose not to excuse the requirement of personal testimony be either the maker or one eyewitness.
Telephonic Testimony: Can be filed by either party in writing to the Federation. Notification of the request will then be sent to the opposing party and they will have the opportunity to submit a response to the request. The Hearing Committee, at its discretion, can decide whether or not the circumstances are appropriate to grant telephonic testimony. They do not typically grant such requests and only do so when there is compelling circumstances that outweigh the preference that live witnesses be present.
Continuance: This request can be made by either party, but must be made in writing prior to the hearing and received by the Federation as soon as the need for a continuance is known but no later than 21 days prior to the time set for the hearing. A 1st continuance request must be accompanied by a $750 fee, which will only be refunded if the continuance is not granted. Any 2nd or subsequent request must be accompanied by a $1,500 fee which again will only be refunded if the continuance is not granted.
A motion for continuance will only be granted at the discretion of the Hearing Committee Co-Chairs upon show of good cause. Prior engagements of Counsel may or may not be considered good cause and if repeated requests are made by counsel due to scheduling issues this may be grounds for a denial by the Co-Chairs.
Emergency Continuance: May be granted to a party in the case of severe illness, natural catastrophe or other emergency circumstances that would prevent the party’s attendance at the hearing. The first request must be accompanied by a $250 fee and any 2nd or subsequent request must be accompanied by a $1,000 fee.
These fees may be refunded or waived at the discretion of the Hearing Committee
THE HEARING IS OVER, WHEN WILL I RECIEVE THE DECISION?
The ruling or Findings of the Hearing Committee will not be given to you at the hearing and are never given over the phone. The Hearing Committee will deliberate immediately following the hearing however, the Federation has up to 60 days to issue the written Findings. Should the Findings not be issued within 60 days, the Federation will send written notification stating when the Findings are expected to be released. Only the named parties to a matter (and their counsel) will receive the Findings; witnesses will not be given a copy.
ALTHOUGH THE DECISION OF THE HEARING COMMITTEE IS FINAL, IF I AM NOT HAPPY WITH THE FINDINGS DO I HAVE ANY OPTIONS?
Yes, As a Proponent or Respondent you do have the right to file the following post-hearing motions after the ruling is issued:
Review of Decision: Each party has 30 days from the issuance of the Findings to request a review of the Hearing Committee Panel’s original decision. The request must be made in writing, setting forth the reasons for the review and must accompanied by a $500 fee, which will only be refunded at the discretion of the Hearing Committee. This request should only be made if a party has sufficient reason/cause to change the original ruling.
Rehearing: Upon discovery of new facts that were not discoverable by due diligence prior to the hearing date, a party may request a rehearing before the Hearing Committee. Such request must be made in writing and must contain the statement of new facts upon which the request is based and must be accompanied by a fee of $250, which is only refundable at the discretion of the Hearing Committee. Said request and fee must be received by the Federation within 30 days from the issuance of the Findings. Rehearings will not be granted as a matter of right but are at the discretion of the Hearing Committee.