(504) 888-3939 mikebroussard3939@gmail.com

What is a Suspension and Revocation (S&R) Proceeding?
A Suspension and Revocation – or S&R – proceeding is an administrative proceeding before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) concerning a Merchant mariner’s Coast Guard issued Credential, License(s) or Document(s) and the right to hold those documents and serve under them.
Mike Broussard, Attorney at Law, is dedicated to defending Mariners against Coast Guard Suspension and Revocation (S&R) proceedings.

What is a Complaint and what do I do if I receive one?
A Complaint is a document issued by a Coast Guard representative alleging a violation for which a merchant mariner’s credential, license(s), certificate(s) of registry, or document(s) may be suspended or revoked. If you receive a complaint Mike Broussard can respond to the complaint. He will defend you against the Coast Guard allegations and protect your rights.

What is an Answer to a Complaint, and how and where do I submit one?
An answer is a document that allows the mariner to specifically deny or admit to each jurisdictional and/or factual element. Mike Broussard will file an answer on your behalf agreeing or disagreeing with the Coast Guard’s proposed sanction and/or request settlement agreement discussions.

How much time do I have to submit an Answer to a Complaint?
The mariner and/or his attorney representative have twenty (20) days to respond to a Complaint.

What if I need more time to submit an Answer?
If you need more time to submit an Answer, Mike Broussard will request an Extension. Where and from whom you file a request for an Extension of time depends on the status of your case.

What are Jurisdictional Allegations?
Jurisdictional allegations demonstrate that the Coast Guard has authority to take action against a mariner. Specifically, the Coast Guard may allege that an individual held a Coast Guard merchant mariner Credential when an incident occurred. Some allegations may indicate that the mariner was acting under the authority of his or her merchant mariner credential.

What are Factual Allegations?
Factual allegations assert facts that the Coast Guard may bear the burden to prove in order for a charged violation to be found proven.

What is a Proposed Sanction/Order?
After providing jurisdictional and factual allegations in a complaint, the Coast Guard also proposes an authorized sanction permitted by regulations with respect to the charged violations.

What if I disagree with the Jurisdictional Allegations on a Complaint?
As your attorney, Mike Broussard may indicate that you deny those allegations you consider incorrect on the Answer document.

What if I disagree with the Factual Allegations on a Complaint?
As your attorney, Mike Broussard may indicate that you deny those allegations you consider incorrect on the Answer document.

What if I disagree with the Proposed Sanction on a Complaint?
As your attorney, Mike Broussard may indicate that you disagree with the proposed sanction on the Answer document, as well as request an opportunity to be heard at a hearing before an ALJ.

What happens if I don’t submit and Answer to a Complaint?
If you do not submit any response, you may be found in default. If you are found to be in default, the facts alleged in the Complaint are deemed admitted. If the Complaint is sufficient, then the ALJ may issue an order finding the charged violation(s) proved and an appropriate sanction for the charged violation(s).

What happens after I submit an Answer?
What happens after an Answer is submitted depends on what the Mariner indicated in his or her answer. If you hire Mike Broussard to defend you, the case will be assigned to an ALJ as a contested case. The ALJ will review the filings and likely contact both of the parties to arrange for a telephonic prehearing conference.

Can I have a jury trial?
No. A jury trial is not authorized in administrative proceedings. You will, however, have the opportunity to have your case heard and decided by an ALJ.

What are ALJs, and how are they appointed?
The position of Administrative Law Judge – or ALJ – was created by the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946, Public Law 79-404. This Act insures fairness and due process in adjudication proceedings by providing parties whose affairs are controlled or regulated by agencies of the Federal Government an opportunity for a formal hearing before an impartial hearing officer.

ALJs are appointed through a merit selection system administered by the United States Office of Personnel Management. An ALJ’s interpretational powers and decisional independence is statutorily protected from undue agency influence, such as the Coast Guard, and they are not subject to agency efficiency ratings, promotions, or demotions. They may, however, be disciplined before the Merit Systems Protection Board, but only after good cause is shown.

Who will be the ALJ in my case?
Your case will be heard by an ALJ. Currently, ALJ’s are employed by the U.S. Coast Guard and are assigned to cases by the Hearing Docket Clerk based on proximity and case load.

How do I know when an ALJ has been assigned?
Mike Broussard, as your attorney will receive a Notice of Assignment from the ALJ Docketing Center via the United States Postal service or via email and will advise you who your ALJ is and when you will go to court.

How can I find out what the Coast Guard will use against me?
Unless an ALJ orders otherwise, once a case is docketed, each side shall provide the ALJ and opposing party a Notice of Expected Exhibits and Witnesses. Mike Broussard will find out who the Coast Guard witnesses will be and what evidence the Coast guard intends to use.

What is a Notice of Expected Exhibits and Witnesses?
This Notice provides:

  1. The name of each expert or other witness a party intends to call at a hearing.
  2.  A brief narrative summary of the expected testimony.
  3. A copy of each document a party intends to introduce into evidence or use in the presentation of its case.

Do I need an attorney at a Hearing?
No. A mariner may appear without counsel, with an attorney, or with an authorized non-attorney representative.
Additionally, an attorney “shall be a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a State, the District of Columbia, or any territory or commonwealth of the United States.” 33 CFR 20.301.
Mike Broussard is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, in good standing. He will file the necessary pleading to represent you when you hire him.

Will an attorney be provided for me if I cannot afford one?
No. Under Coast Guard regulations and the Administrative Procedure Act, there is no obligation to find or provide you with counsel. You may, however, be able to recover attorney fees after a successful defense through an Equal Access to Justice Claim if it is later found that the government was not “substantially justified” in bringing the action. See 5 U.S.C. 504 (a) and 49 CFR Part 6 for more information.

How can I find an attorney who understands this kind of proceeding?
Mike Broussard has dedicated himself to defending Mariners involved in Suspension and Revocation (S&R) hearings.

Will the charges in an S&R proceeding count as a criminal conviction?
No. An S&R proceeding is not a criminal action; therefore, no jail sentences or criminal fees are imposed upon Mariners subject to these proceedings. These proceedings, however, do not bar criminal proceedings brought by other government enforcement divisions.
The ALJ assigned to your case schedules all conferences and hearings.

Where will my hearing be held?
A hearing location is selected by the ALJ assigned to a case, with due regard for the convenience of the parties, their representatives, and their witnesses.

How long do hearings last?
Hearings can last anywhere from several hours to several days. A typical hearing, however, generally lasts 1-2 days.

What happens at a formal hearing before an ALJ?
In a formal hearing, all parties are given the opportunity to present oral and documentary evidence, submit evidence in rebuttal, conduct cross examinations, and make arguments.

Do I need to bring anything to a hearing?
You should bring your original U.S. issued merchant mariner credential, license(s), and document(s).

How do I request an alternate date or location for my hearing if I can’t attend on the date scheduled or the location causes financial hardship?
If you are unable to attend the hearing on the date scheduled, Mike Broussard, as your attorney will request an alternate date.

What happens if I don’t attend a scheduled hearing?
In most cases, the Coast Guard representatives will present a motion for default to the ALJ. Unless you can demonstrate good cause for failing to attend, a default judgment will be entered against you.

What is a subpoena? How do I get one?
A subpoena is a written, formal order that has authority to compel testimony by a witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure. Any party may request the ALJ issue a subpoena for the attendance of a person or the giving of testimony or other relevant evidence during discovery or at a hearing.

Do I have to pay fees for witnesses that I subpoena?
Yes, witnesses are entitled to the same fees and mileage as are paid witnesses in the courts of the United States. The party at whose instance the witness is subpoenaed or appears shall pay the fees.

Who bears the burden of proof in An S&R hearing?
The Coast Guard bears the burden of proof in these proceedings. This burden means that the Coast Guard must establish that the allegations brought against the respondent were more likely than not to have occurred.

Where can I find the regulations and laws that will apply to my case?
The Complaint should list the regulations applicable to your case and what regulations you are alleged to have violated. You can obtain copies of these regulations at many libraries, or you can access these regulations online. A good website that allows free access to the code of federal regulations is www.gpoaccess.gov.

Where can I find copies of administrative decisions and orders that have been issued in other cases?
ALJ decisions for Coast Guard S&Rs proceedings can be found on the Coast Guard website. A link to Commandant Decisions on Appeal and Commandant Review Decisions can also be found on the same website. Commandant decisions are also searchable on fee-based Westlaw and Lexis legal research databases.
What are the rules governing contact with the ALJ without the other party present (also known as ex parte communication)?
Both parties should avoid contacting the ALJ or his staff on any matter related to the merits of the current case without the other party present. This means that no phone calls regarding the case should be made to the ALJ’s office unless the other party is on the line. Additionally, any documents filed or e-mailed to the ALJ or his staff should also be copied to the other parties.

How long do I have to wait for the ALJ to make a decision in my case?
The time it takes an ALJ to arrive on a decision depends on many factors; such as, the type of case, the complexity of the case, whether there was an in-person hearing, and granted continuances, to name a few. Regardless of the factors involved in a specific case, all ALJs are committed handling each case in an expeditious manner.

What can I do if I disagree with the ALJ’s decision?
Any party may appeal an ALJ’s decision. Any decision by an ALJ will include specific information of your appeal rights as stated in 33 CFR 20.1001. You have 30 days from the date of the decision to file a notice of appeal.

Can I continue to use my credential, license, or document while an appeal is pending?
The decision and order will state the sanction imposed, if any, and if it takes effect immediately. If your merchant mariner credential, license(s), or document(s) are revoked or suspended outright effective immediately, you may not continue to use them. If, however, a Mariner has appealed a decision revoking or outright suspending his or her credential, license(s), or document(s), that Mariner may submit a written request for a temporary license to either the ALJ assigned to the case or to any Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection in keeping with 46 CFR 5.707.

* FAQs were taken from the Coast Guard web site.