The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has proposed new rules to help improve and expedite rail rate reasonableness cases. However, the proposed rules are not the final action the Board plans to take to improve the rail rate review processes.
The Board is proposing to establish a 70-day “pre-complaint” period, where the complainant would notify the defendant of the rate and movement it intends to challenge and during which mandatory mediation would now occur. The proposed rules would require service of the complainant’s and the defendant’s initial discovery requests with the complaint and the answer, respectively. The rule would also establish a requirement that parties meet and confer prior to the filing of a motion to compel.
The Board also proposes to standardize certain practices with respect to evidentiary submissions and to establish a new practice of appointing an STB staff person to serve as a liaison for the case and assist the parties in technical and procedural matters, particularly in discovery.
The Board is currently seeking public comments on the proposed rules that may be found in Docket No. EP 733 at the STB web site, under "E-LIBRARY / Decisions & Notices / 03/ 31 / 17".