A respondent may request a hearing on the PHS finding of research misconduct and/or the PHS administrative actions before the HHS Departmental Appeals Board (DAB). The request must be made to the DAB within 30 days of receipt of the ORI final report and notification letter that contains the finding and administrative actions. A DAB hearing is conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who may consult one or more technical or scientific experts. During a hearing, the respondent may be represented by counsel, file motions and pleadings, participate in case-related conferences held by the ALJ, request discovery, stipulate to facts or law, present and cross examine witnesses, submit evidence, make legal arguments, and submit briefs. ORI relies heavily on the cooperation of the involved institutions in obtaining witnesses, documents, and other assistance in presenting its case before the ALJ.
The decision by the ALJ may be reviewed by the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) except when debarment and suspension is involved. The ALJ ruling becomes final if the ASH does not indicate intent to review the decision within 30 days. If the ALJ rules in favor of the respondent and the ASH approves the ruling, the misconduct finding will be overturned and/or the proposed administrative actions will not take effect. ALJ rulings on proposed debarments or suspensions are subject to final approval by the HHS debarring official. Whatever the outcome, a final notification letter is sent to the institution where the investigation was conducted and to the current employing institution if the respondent has relocated. See other close out procedures under ORI Decision and PHS Decision.