Sec. 31-278. Powers and duties of commissioners. Each commissioner shall, for the purposes of this chapter, have power to summon and examine under oath such witnesses, and may direct the production of, and examine or cause to be produced or examined, such books, records, vouchers, memoranda, documents, letters, contracts or other papers in relation to any matter at issue as he may find proper, and shall have the same powers in reference thereto as are vested in magistrates taking depositions and shall have the power to order depositions pursuant to section 52-148. He shall have power to certify to official acts and shall have all powers necessary to enable him to perform the duties imposed upon him by the provisions of this chapter. Each commissioner shall hear all claims and questions arising under this chapter in the district to which the commissioner is assigned and all such claims shall be filed in the district in which the claim arises, provided, if it is uncertain in which district a claim arises, or if a claim arises out of several injuries or occupational diseases which occurred in one or more districts, the commissioner to whom the first request for hearing is made shall hear and determine such claim to the same extent as if it arose solely within his own district. If a commissioner is disqualified or temporarily incapacitated from hearing any matter, or if the parties shall so request and the chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Commission finds that it will facilitate a speedier disposition of the claim, he shall designate some other commissioner to hear and decide such matter. The Superior Court, on application of a commissioner or the chairman or the Attorney General, may enforce, by appropriate decree or process, any provision of this chapter or any proper order of a commissioner or the chairman rendered pursuant to any such provision. Any compensation commissioner, after ceasing to hold office as such compensation commissioner, may settle and dispose of all matters relating to appealed cases, including correcting findings and certifying records, as well as any other unfinished matters pertaining to causes theretofore tried by him, to the same extent as if he were still such compensation commissioner.
(1949 Rev., S. 7436; 1958 Rev., S. 31-142; 1961, P.A. 491, S. 4; February, 1965, P.A. 577, S. 2; 1969, P.A. 662, S. 4; 1971, P.A. 339; P.A. 73-152; P.A. 76-80, S. 1, 3; P.A. 80-414, S. 4; P.A. 81-472, S. 65, 159; P.A. 82-289, S. 2; P.A. 84-320, S. 4, 6; P.A. 91-339, S. 4, 55.)
History: 1961 act entirely replaced previous provisions; 1965 act added exceptions to residency requirement, established sixth district office in New Britain and revised list of towns which serve as hearing locations; 1969 act deleted references to “congressional” districts, established seventh district office in Stamford and revised list of towns which serve as hearing locations; 1971 act deleted exceptions to residency requirement which had existed for fourth district commissioner and which had stated that at-large commissioner must reside in a town of the state, added proviso re jurisdiction in cases where there is uncertainty as to district in which claim arises, allowed designation of other than usual commissioner to hear claims if parties request it and commissioner finds it will aid speedy disposition; P.A. 73-152 revised list of towns which serve as hearing locations; P.A. 76-80 empowered commissioners “to order depositions pursuant to section 52-148”; P.A. 80-414 added provision re board chairman’s maintenance of an office; P.A. 81-472 made technical changes; P.A. 82-289 referred to Norwich as a town rather than as a city; P.A. 84-320 provided that the commissioner for the eighth district shall maintain an office in Middletown, and that hearings in the district shall be held in Middletown; P.A. 91-339 deleted provisions re commissioners residing in assigned districts and requirements re office locations and changed certain references to “commission” to read “chairman”, effective July 1, 1992.
See Sec. 31-276 re compensation commissioners’ nomination, appointment, terms of office, removal, etc.
Commissioner has jurisdiction only in his own district unless local commissioner is “disqualified or incapacitated”; cannot act by consent of parties. 99 C. 236. Powers of commissioners are purely statutory. 108 C. 33. Contract made in this state, to be performed in another state, governed by our law. 111 C. 696. No jurisdiction to determine rights between employer and two insurance companies. 113 C. 504; 120 C. 503. When acting commissioner is disqualified, commissioner in whose district accident occurred has jurisdiction to name commissioner to act further. 118 C. 29. Cited. 129 C. 594; 132 C. 172; 133 C. 668; 218 C. 46; 232 C. 758. Section does not give commissioner subject matter jurisdiction over insurance coverage issues that require application of laws other than provisions of Workers’ Compensation Act. 248 C. 754. Because of the use of “may” instead of “shall”, commissioners are permitted, not required, to continue to hear cases subsequent to their retirement. 251 C. 153.
Cited. 16 CA 138; 21 CA 9; judgment reversed, see 218 C. 46; 22 CA 539; judgment reversed, see 219 C. 439; 24 CA 234; 29 CA 249; 31 CA 819; 34 CA 673; 36 CA 150.
Former commissioner who heard the case originally had authority to hear it upon remand after appeal. 14 CS 302. Cited. 39 CS 321.