§271-31  Hearings.  (a)  All hearings, investigations, and proceedings shall be governed by this section and by rules of practice and procedure adopted by the public utilities commission, and in the conduct thereof, the technical rules of evidence need not be applied.  No informality in any hearing, investigation, or proceeding, or in the manner of taking testimony shall invalidate any order, decision or rule made, approved, or confirmed by the commission.

     (b)  Complaints may be made in writing, on paper or electronically, by the commission on its own motion or by any person or body politic, setting forth any act or thing done, or omitted to be done, by any motor carrier, including any rule, rate, or charge heretofore established or fixed by or for any motor carrier, in violation or claimed to be in violation, of any law or of any order or rule of the commission.

     (c)  All matters upon which complaint may be founded may be joined in one hearing, and no motion shall be entertained against a complaint for misjoinder of causes of action or grievances or misjoinder or nonjoinder of parties.  In any review by the courts of orders or decisions of the commission the same rule shall apply with regard to the joinder of causes and parties as herein provided.  The commission shall not be required to dismiss any complaint because of the absence of direct damage to the complainant.

     (d)  Upon the filing of a complaint, the commission shall cause a copy thereof to be served upon the person or motor carrier complained of.  Service in all hearings, investigations, and proceedings pending before the commission may be made upon any person upon whom a summons may be served in any proceeding before the courts of this State, and may be made personally or by mailing in a sealed envelope, registered or certified, with postage prepaid.  The commission shall fix the time when and place where a hearing will be had upon the complaint and shall serve notice thereof, not less than ten days before the time set for the hearing, unless the commission finds that public necessity requires that the hearing be held at an earlier date.

     (e)  At the time fixed for any hearing before the commission or the time to which the hearing has been continued, the complainant and the person complained of, and such persons as the commission allows to intervene, shall be entitled to be heard and to introduce evidence.  The commission shall issue process to enforce the attendance of all necessary witnesses.  After the conclusion of the hearing, the commission shall make and file its order, containing its decision which shall be based on findings of fact and conclusions of law therein stated.  A copy of each order, certified under the seal of the commission, shall be served upon the person complained of, or the person's attorney.  The order shall, of its own force, take effect and become operative twenty days after the service thereof, except as otherwise provided, and shall continue in force either for a period designated in it or until changed or abrogated by the commission.  If the commission believes that an order cannot be complied with within twenty days, it may prescribe such additional time as in its judgment is reasonably necessary to comply with the order, and may on application and for good cause shown, extend the time for compliance fixed in its order.

     (f)  A complete record of all proceedings and testimony before the commission on any formal hearing shall be taken down by a reporter appointed by the commission, and the parties shall be entitled to be heard in person or by attorney.  In case of an action to review an order or decision of the commission, a transcript of the testimony, together with all exhibits or copies thereof introduced, and of the pleadings, records, and proceedings in the cause, shall constitute the record of the commission, but the party or parties to the proceeding and the commission may stipulate that designated parts of the record need not be transmitted to the appellate court, as provided by the rules of the court.

     (g)  Any motor carrier may complain on any of the grounds upon which complaints are allowed to be filed by other parties, and the same procedure shall be adopted and followed as in other cases, except that the complaint may be heard ex parte by the commission or may be served upon any party designated by the commission.

     (h)  The commission may at any time upon notice to the motor carrier affected, and after opportunity to be heard as provided in the case of complaints, rescind, alter, or amend any order or decision made by it.  Any order rescinding, altering, or amending a prior order or decision shall, when served upon the motor carrier affected, have the same effect as an original order or decision.

     (i)  In all collateral actions or proceedings, the orders and decisions of the commission which have become final shall be conclusive. [L 1961, c 121, pt of §2; Supp, §106C-29; HRS §271-31; am L 1973, c 149, §2(c); am L 1979, c 111, §12; gen ch 1985; am L 2021, c 72, §10]


Cross References


  Hearings, see chapter 91.


Case Notes


  The qualifying clause in §271-32(e) neither limits appeals to "contested" cases nor limits appeals to hearings held pursuant to this section; §271-32(e) is intended to apply only in the event that the public utilities commission conducts a contested case hearing, limiting standing to the "aggrieved" party in that hearing.  104 H. 98, 85 P.3d 623 (2004).

  Cited:  50 H. 172, 435 P.2d 21 (1967).

  Referred to:  50 H. 22, 428 P.2d 411 (1967).