|(a) Authority to impose sanctions. For contested cases referred by an agency other than the PUC or the TCEQ, the judge has the authority to impose appropriate sanctions against a party or its representative for: (1) filing a motion or pleading that is deemed by the judge to be groundless and brought: (A) in bad faith; (B) for the purpose of harassment; or (C) for any other improper purpose, such as to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of the proceeding; (2) abuse of the discovery process in seeking, making, or resisting discovery; or (3) failure to obey an order of the judge or a SOAH or referring agency rule. (b) Sanctions that may be imposed. The judge may issue an order imposing sanctions when justified by party or representative behavior described in subsection (a) of this section and after notice and opportunity for hearing. Sanctions may include: (1) disallowing or limiting further discovery by the offending party; (2) charging all or part of the expenses of discovery against the offending party or its representatives; (3) deeming designated facts be admitted for purposes of the proceeding; (4) refusing to allow the offending party to support or oppose a claim or defense or prohibiting the party from introducing designated matters into the record; (5) disallowing in whole or in part requests for relief by the offending party and excluding evidence in support of those requests; or (6) striking pleadings or testimony in whole or in part.