Part II. Manufacturer, distributor, and dealer disputes
[§437-51] Dispute resolution. (a) In any dispute among a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer on matters governed by this part, the manufacturer, distributor, or dealer may seek a hearing from the department of commerce and consumer affairs.
(b) The office of administrative hearings of the department of commerce and consumer affairs shall accept no more than thirty requests for hearing per fiscal year under this section. The office of administrative hearings may reject a request for a hearing if in the opinion of the hearings officer the matter presented does not involve the interpretation or enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. The director of commerce and consumer affairs shall appoint a hearings officer pursuant to section 26-9(f) who shall have jurisdiction to review any request for hearing filed under this section. The hearings officer shall have the power to issue subpoenas, administer oaths, hear testimony, find facts, make conclusions of law, and issue written decisions that shall be final and conclusive, unless a party adversely affected by the decision files an appeal in the circuit court under section 91-14. All information so provided in and for the hearing shall be sealed and not subject to public review or access. The information shall also remain confidential and not subject to public access or review on appeal pursuant to section 91-14.
(c) The party requesting the hearing shall file a petition with the department of commerce and consumer affairs specifying the specific provisions of this chapter that are in issue; the interpretation or enforcement sought; the legal and factual basis for the interpretation or enforcement sought; and the remedy or remedies sought. The party requesting a hearing under this section shall provide a copy of the petition to the board at the time the petition is filed. Each adverse party shall file a response with the department of commerce and consumer affairs.
(d) Hearings under this section shall be conducted pursuant to chapter 91 and rules adopted by the department of commerce and consumer affairs. The burden of proof, including the burden of producing the evidence and the burden of persuasion, shall be upon the party initiating the proceeding, unless otherwise specified in this chapter. The standard of proof required shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.
(e) The hearings officer shall issue written findings of fact, conclusions of law, and an order as expeditiously as practicable after the hearing has been concluded.
(f) The prevailing party in any proceeding brought under this section shall provide a copy of the hearings officer's written findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order to the board within ten days of receipt of the written findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order.
(g) Each party to the hearing shall bear the party's own costs, including attorney's fees. Both parties shall share equally in the cost of the hearing, including any allocable departmental overhead attributable to the hearing.
(h) Any party to a proceeding brought under this section who is aggrieved by a final decision of a hearings officer may apply for judicial review of that decision pursuant to section 91-14; provided that any party seeking judicial review pursuant to section 91-14 shall be responsible for the costs of preparing the record on appeal, including the cost of preparing the transcript of the hearing. Any party aggrieved by a final decision of a hearings officer who applies for judicial review under this section shall provide a copy of the party's application for judicial review to the board within ten days of filing the application for judicial review.
(i) The department of commerce and consumer affairs may adopt rules, pursuant to chapter 91, to effectuate the purpose of this section and to implement its provisions, including fees to recover the cost of hearings. [L 2010, c 164, pt of §2]