(1) An ALJ or review judge may be disqualified for bias, prejudice, or conflict of interest, or if one of the parties or a party's representative has an ex parte contact with the ALJ or review judge.
(2) Ex parte contact means a written or oral communication with the ALJ or review judge about something related to the hearing when the other parties are not present. Procedural questions are not considered an ex parte contact. Examples of procedural questions include clarifying the hearing date, time, or location or asking for directions to the hearing location.
(3) To ask to disqualify an ALJ or review judge a party must send a written petition for disqualification. A petition for disqualification is a written explanation to request assignment of a different ALJ or review judge. A party must promptly make the petition upon discovery of possible bias, conflict of interest or an ex parte contact.
(4) A party must send or deliver the petition to the ALJ or review judge assigned to the case. That ALJ or review judge must decide whether to grant or deny the petition and must state the facts and reasons for the decision.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 34.05.020
. WSR 00-18-059, § 388-02-0245, filed 9/1/00, effective 10/2/00.]