Sec. 150B-23. Commencement; assignment of administrative law judge; hearing required; notice; intervention.
(a) A contested case shall be commenced by paying a fee in an amount established in G.S. 150B-23.2 and by filing a petition with the Office of Administrative Hearings and, except as provided in Article 3A of this Chapter, shall be conducted by that Office. The party who files the petition shall serve a copy of the petition on all other parties and, if the dispute concerns a license, the person who holds the license. A party who files a petition shall file a certificate of service together with the petition. A petition shall be signed by a party, an attorney representing a party, or other representative of the party as may specifically be authorized by law, and, if filed by a party other than an agency, shall state facts tending to establish that the agency named as the respondent has deprived the petitioner of property, has ordered the petitioner to pay a fine or civil penalty, or has otherwise substantially prejudiced the petitioner’s rights and that the agency:
(1) Exceeded its authority or jurisdiction;
(2) Acted erroneously;
(3) Failed to use proper procedure;
(4) Acted arbitrarily or capriciously; or
(5) Failed to act as required by law or rule.
The parties in a contested case shall be given an opportunity for a hearing without undue delay. Any person aggrieved may commence a contested case hereunder.
A local government employee, applicant for employment, or former employee to whom Chapter 126 of the General Statutes applies may commence a contested case under this Article in the same manner as any other petitioner. The case shall be conducted in the same manner as other contested cases under this Article.
A business entity may represent itself using a nonattorney representative who is one or more of the following of the business entity: (i) officer, (ii) manager or member-manager, if the business entity is a limited liability company, (iii) employee whose income is reported on IRS Form W-2, if the business entity authorizes the representation in writing, or (iv) owner of the business entity, if the business entity authorizes representation in writing and if the owner’s interest in the business entity is at least twenty-five percent (25%). Authority for and prior notice of nonattorney representation shall be made in writing, under penalty of perjury, to the Office on a form provided by the Office.
(a2) An administrative law judge assigned to a contested case may require a party to the case to file a prehearing statement. A party’s prehearing statement must be served on all other parties to the contested case.
(a4) If an agency fails to take any required action within the time period specified by law, any person whose rights are substantially prejudiced by the agency’s failure to act may commence a contested case in accordance with this section seeking an order that the agency act as required by law. If the administrative law judge finds that the agency has failed to act as required by law, the administrative law judge may order that the agency take the required action within a specified time period.
(b) The parties to a contested case shall be given a notice of hearing not less than 15 days before the hearing by the Office of Administrative Hearings. If prehearing statements have been filed in the case, the notice shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing. If prehearing statements have not been filed in the case, the notice shall state the date, hour, place, and nature of the hearing, shall list the particular sections of the statutes and rules involved, and shall give a short and plain statement of the factual allegations.
(c) Notice shall be given by one of the methods for service of process under G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4(j) or Rule 4(j3). If given by registered or certified mail, by signature confirmation as provided by the United States Postal Service, or by designated delivery service authorized pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7502(f)(2) with delivery receipt, notice shall be deemed to have been given on the delivery date appearing on the return receipt, copy of the proof of delivery provided by the United States Postal Service, or delivery receipt. If giving of notice cannot be accomplished by a method under G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4(j) or Rule 4(j3), notice shall then be given in the manner provided in G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4(j1).
(d) Any person may petition to become a party by filing a motion to intervene in the manner provided in G.S. 1A-1, Rule 24. In addition, any person interested in a contested case may intervene and participate in that proceeding to the extent deemed appropriate by the administrative law judge.
(e) All hearings under this Chapter shall be open to the public. Hearings shall be conducted in an impartial manner. Hearings shall be conducted according to the procedures set out in this Article, except to the extent and in the particulars that specific hearing procedures and time standards are governed by another statute.
(f) Unless another statute or a federal statute or regulation sets a time limitation for the filing of a petition in contested cases against a specified agency, the general limitation for the filing of a petition in a contested case is 60 days. The time limitation, whether established by another statute, federal statute, or federal regulation, or this section, shall commence when notice is given of the agency decision to all persons aggrieved who are known to the agency by personal delivery or by the placing of the notice in an official depository of the United States Postal Service wrapped in a wrapper addressed to the person at the latest address given by the person to the agency. The notice shall be in writing, and shall set forth the agency action, and shall inform the persons of the right, the procedure, and the time limit to file a contested case petition. When no informal settlement request has been received by the agency prior to issuance of the notice, any subsequent informal settlement request shall not suspend the time limitation for the filing of a petition for a contested case hearing.
(g) Where multiple licenses are required from an agency for a single activity, the Secretary or chief administrative officer of the agency may issue a written determination that the administrative decision reviewable under Article 3 of this Chapter occurs on the date the last license for the activity is issued, denied, or otherwise disposed of. The written determination of the administrative decision is not reviewable under this Article. Any licenses issued for the activity prior to the date of the last license identified in the written determination are not reviewable under this Article until the last license for the activity is issued, denied, or otherwise disposed of. A contested case challenging the last license decision for the activity may include challenges to agency decisions on any of the previous licenses required for the activity.