Sec. 13.232 - Initial decision.

(a) Contents. The administrative law judge shall issue an initial decision at the conclusion of the hearing. In each oral or written decision, the administrative law judge shall include findings of fact and conclusions of law, and the grounds supporting those findings and conclusions, upon all material issues of fact, the credibility of witnesses, the applicable law, any exercise of the administrative law judge's discretion, the amount of any civil penalty found appropriate by the administrative law judge, and a discussion of the basis for any order issued in the proceedings. The administrative law judge is not required to provide a written explanation for rulings on objections, procedural motions, and other matters not directly relevant to the substance of the initial decision. If the administrative law judge refers to any previous unreported or unpublished initial decision, the administrative law judge shall make copies of that initial decision available to all parties and the FAA decisionmaker.

(b) Oral decision. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, at the conclusion of the hearing, the administrative law judge shall issue the initial decision and order orally on the record.

(c) Written decision. The administrative law judge may issue a written initial decision not later than 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing or submission of the last posthearing brief if the administrative law judge finds that issuing a written initial decision is reasonable. The administrative law judge shall serve a copy of any written initial decision on each party.

(d) Order assessing civil penalty. Unless appealed pursuant to 13.233 of this subpart, the initial decision issued by the administrative law judge shall be considered an order assessing civil penalty if the administrative law judge finds that an alleged violation occurred and determines that a civil penalty, in an amount found appropriate by the administrative law judge, is warranted.