Alert October 02, 2012

FTC Finalizes Changes to Agency Procedure to Streamline Its Investigative Process

The FTC announced the release of final changes to Part 2 (Investigations) and Part 4 (Attorney Discipline) of its Rules of Practice, reflecting public comments received after the notice of proposed rulemaking was published in January of this year. The final changes to Part 2 seek to streamline the FTC’s investigatory process by, for example, requiring parties to meet and confer with FTC staff within 14 days to resolve electronic discovery issues relating to subpoenas and civil investigative demands, and relieving parties of their obligations to preserve documents related to an FTC investigation after a year passes with no written communication from FTC staff. The final changes to Part 4.1(e) clarify the agency’s procedures for evaluating allegations of attorney misconduct. The changes to both Parts 2 and 4 become effective November 9, 2012 and, with respect to Part 4, will apply to any alleged attorney misconduct that occurs on or after such date.