31.02.01.10-2

.10-2 Final Order following Proposed Decision.

A. Scope. This regulation applies to a contested case where the Office has been delegated authority to issue proposed findings of fact, proposed conclusions of law, or a proposed order.

B. Issuance. After consideration of the administrative law judge's proposed findings of fact, proposed conclusions of law, or proposed order, and any exceptions filed by the parties, the Commissioner shall issue a final order or a remand order.

C. Effect of Proposed Findings of Fact, Proposed Conclusions of Law, and Proposed Order. In reviewing the administrative law judge's proposed findings of fact, proposed conclusions of law, or proposed order, the Commissioner is:

(1) Bound by the findings of fact that are supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence; and

(2) Not bound by any legal analysis, proposed conclusions of law, or proposed order.

D. Types of Action by the Commissioner. The Commissioner may affirm, reverse, or modify the proposed findings of fact, proposed conclusions of law, or proposed order, or remand the case to the Office for further proceedings by setting forth, with particularity, the basis for the Commissioner's reversal, modification, or remand.

E. Procedure When Case Remanded. If the Commissioner remands the case for further proceedings, the Commissioner may:

(1) Refer the case back to the Office; or

(2) Retain the case to be heard by the Commissioner.

F. Rehearing. The Commissioner may, on the Commissioner's own motion, hold a rehearing.

G. Service of Order. The Commissioner shall serve a copy of the final order or remand order on the parties, the parties' attorneys of record, and the Office by first-class mail.

H. Effect of Summary Affirmance.

(1) If the Commissioner issues a final order that summarily affirms the proposed order of an administrative law judge without discussing the facts and legal issues and without expressly adopting the administrative law judge's legal analysis and proposed conclusions of law, neither the final order nor the proposed order is precedent within the rule of stare decisis.

(2) Notwithstanding §H(1) of this regulation, a final order of the Commissioner that summarily affirms the proposed order of an administrative law judge without discussing the facts and legal issues and without expressly adopting the administrative law judge's legal analysis and proposed conclusions of law may be cited and relied on in a proceeding before the Commissioner, the Office, or a court:

(a) When relevant under the doctrine of the law of the case, res judicata, or collateral estoppel; or

(b) In any subsequent disciplinary proceeding involving a party to the final order.

(3) Subject to Insurance Article, §2-215(g), Annotated Code of Maryland, if a party appeals from a final order of the Commissioner that summarily affirms the proposed order of an administrative law judge, in addition to filing the final order of the Commissioner with the court in which the appeal is pending, the Commissioner also shall file a copy of the proposed order of the administrative law judge.