2016 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 42 - Business, Selling, Trading and Collection Practices
Chapter 735a - Unfair Trade Practices
Section 42-110d - Investigation. Hearing. Orders. Enforcement. Disclosure of information.
(a) For the purposes of this chapter the commissioner shall have the power to order an investigation and examination to be made. In addition to other powers conferred upon the commissioner by this chapter, the commissioner or his authorized representatives may issue subpoenas to any person involved in any matter under investigation and examination, administer an oath or affirmation to any person, and conduct hearings in aid of any investigation or examination, provided none of the powers conferred by this chapter shall be used for the purpose of compelling any natural person to furnish testimony or evidence which might tend to incriminate him or subject him to a penalty or forfeiture.
(b) Said commissioner or his authorized representatives shall have the right to (1) enter any place or establishment within the state, at reasonable times, for the purpose of making an investigation; (2) check the invoices and records pertaining to costs and other transactions of commodities; (3) take samples of commodities for evidence upon tendering the market price therefor to the person having such commodity in his custody; (4) subpoena documentary material relating to such investigation; and (5) have access to, for the purpose of examination, documentary material and the right to copy such documentary material of any person being investigated or proceeded against. The commissioner or his authorized representatives shall have power to require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of all such documentary material relating to any matter under investigation.
(c) In addition to other powers conferred upon the commissioner, said commissioner may execute in writing and cause to be served by certified mail an investigative demand upon any person suspected of using, having used or about to use any method, act or practice declared by section 42-110b to be unlawful or upon any person from whom said commissioner wants assurance that section 42-110b has not, is not or will not be violated. Such investigative demand shall contain a description of the method, act or practice under investigation, provide a reasonable time for compliance, and require such person to furnish under oath or otherwise, as may be specified in said demand, a report in writing setting forth relevant facts or circumstances together with documentary material.
(d) Said commissioner, in conformance with sections 4-176e to 4-185, inclusive, whenever he has reason to believe that any person has been engaged or is engaged in an alleged violation of any provision of this chapter, shall mail to such person, by certified mail, a complaint stating the charges and containing a notice of a hearing, to be held upon a day and at a place therein fixed at least fifteen days after the date of such complaint. The person so notified shall have the right to file a written answer to the complaint and charges therein stated and appear at the time and place so fixed for such hearing, in person or otherwise, with or without counsel, and submit testimony and be fully heard. Any person may make application, and upon good cause shown shall be allowed by the commissioner to intervene and appear in such proceeding by counsel or in person. The testimony in any such proceeding, including the testimony of any intervening person, shall be under oath and shall be reduced to writing by the recording officer of the hearing and filed in the office of the commissioner. The commissioner or his authorized representatives shall have the power to require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of any documentary material at such proceeding. If upon such hearing the commissioner is of the opinion that the method of competition or the act or practice in question is prohibited by this chapter, the commissioner shall make a report in writing to the person complained of in which he shall state his findings as to the facts and shall forward by certified mail to such person an order to cease and desist from using such methods of competition or such act or practice, or, if the amount involved is less than ten thousand dollars, an order directing restitution, or both. The commissioner may apply for the enforcement of any cease and desist order, order directing restitution or consent order issued under this chapter to the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford, or to any judge thereof if the same is not in session, for orders temporarily and permanently restraining and enjoining any person from continuing violations of such cease and desist order, order directing restitution or consent order. Such application for a temporary restraining order, temporary and permanent injunction, order directing restitution and for such other appropriate decree or process shall be brought and the proceedings thereon conducted by the Attorney General.
(e) In addition to any injunction issued pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, the court may make such additional orders or judgments as may be necessary to restore to any person in interest any moneys or property, real or personal, which may have been acquired by means of any practices prohibited by this chapter, including the appointment of a receiver or the revocation of a license or certificate authorizing the person subject to the order or injunction to engage in business in this state, or both.
(f) The commissioner or the Attorney General or their employees shall disclose, in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, as defined in section 1-200, all records concerning the investigation of any alleged violation of any provision of this chapter, including, but not limited to, any complaint initiating an investigation and all records of the disposition or settlement of a complaint. For purposes of this section, “disposition” shall include the following action or nonaction with respect to any complaints or investigations: (A) No action taken because of (i) a lack of jurisdiction; (ii) unsubstantiated allegations or (iii) a lack of sufficient information to draw a conclusion, as determined by the commissioner, after investigation; (B) referral to another state agency, or to a federal or local agency, or to law enforcement authorities; (C) an acceptance of an assurance of voluntary compliance in accordance with the provisions of section 42-110j; and (D) formal action taken, including the institution of administrative proceedings pursuant to subsection (d) of this section or court proceedings pursuant to section 42-110m, 42-110o or 42-110p. The commissioner may withhold such records from disclosure during the pendency of an investigation or examination held in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, but in no event shall the commissioner withhold any such records longer than a period of eighteen months after the date on which the initial complaint was filed with the commissioner or after the date on which the investigation or examination was commenced, whichever is earlier. Nothing herein shall be deemed to affect the rights of litigants, including parties to administrative proceedings, under the laws of discovery of this state.
(P.A. 73-615, S. 4, 12, 13, 16; P.A. 75-618, S. 3, 11; P.A. 76-436, S. 279, 681; P.A. 78-280, S. 5, 127; P.A. 79-395, S. 1, 2; P.A. 81-356, S. 1; P.A. 84-468, S. 1, 10; P.A. 88-230, S. 1, 12; 88-317, S. 91, 107; P.A. 90-98, S. 1, 2; P.A. 93-76; 93-142, S. 4, 7, 8; P.A. 95-220, S. 4–6; P.A. 97-47, S. 40; P.A. 15-60, S. 8.)
History: P.A. 75-618 rephrased provision in Subsec. (a) re commissioner’s power to make investigations, referring to entire chapter rather than to Sec. 42-110b, and allowed authorized representatives to issue subpoenas, amended Subsec. (b) to replace documentary “evidence” with documentary “material” and to delete requirement that commissioner or representative make investigation “after written request”, inserted new Subsec. (c) re investigative demands, relettered former Subsecs. (c) and (d) accordingly, adding provision re subpoena power and distinguishing between temporary and permanent orders in former Subsec. (c), now (d), and deleted former Subsecs. (e) to (g) re penalties for violations; P.A. 76-436 replaced court of common pleas with superior court in Subsec. (d), effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 78-280 substituted “judicial district of Hartford-New Britain” for “Hartford county” in Subsec. (c); P.A. 79-395 added Subsec. (f) re disclosure of information and exception re Subsec. (f) in Subsec. (a); P.A. 81-356 expanded commissioner’s powers by providing that he may order restitution if he believes an unfair trade practice has been committed and if the amount involved is less than $2,000 in Subsec. (d); P.A. 84-468 deleted language in Subsec. (a) which limited disclosure of information and changed the manner of disclosure of investigations, pending and nonpending; P.A. 88-230 replaced “judicial district of Hartford-New Britain” with “judicial district of Hartford”, effective September 1, 1991; P.A. 88-317 amended reference to Secs. 4-177 to 4-185 in Subsec. (d) to include new sections added to Ch. 54, effective July 1, 1989, and applicable to all agency proceedings commencing on or after that date; P.A. 90-98 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1991, to September 1, 1993; P.A. 93-76 made technical changes and amended Subsec. (d) by increasing the monetary limit of commissioner’s restitution powers from $2,000 to $5,000; P.A. 93-142 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1993, to September 1, 1996, effective June 14, 1993; P.A. 95-220 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1996, to September 1, 1998, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 97-47 amended Subsec. (f) by substituting “the Freedom of Information Act, as defined in section 1-18a” for “chapter 3”; P.A. 15-60 amended Subsec. (d) by increasing amount re order directing restitution from less than $5,000 to less than $10,000.