CHAPTER 53*
CLAIMS AGAINST THE STATE

      *Action against state for money damages is barred by sovereign immunity and must be dismissed by court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction unless plaintiff has received permission from claims commissioner to bring the action or pleaded a valid exception to doctrine of sovereign immunity. 86 CA 748.

Table of Contents

Sec. 4-154. Time limit for decision. Notice to claimant.
Sec. 4-158. Decision by Claims Commissioner. Request for legislative review. Payment of smaller claims.
Sec. 4-159. Submission of certain claims to legislature. Review and disposition of claims by legislature.
Sec. 4-160. Authorization of actions against the state.
Sec. 4-165. Immunity of state officers and employees from personal liability.

      Sec. 4-154. Time limit for decision. Notice to claimant. (a) Not later than ninety days after hearing a claim, the Claims Commissioner shall render a decision as provided in subsection (a) of section 4-158. The Claims Commissioner shall make a finding of fact for each claim and file such finding with the order, recommendation or authorization disposing of the claim. The clerk of the Office of the Claims Commissioner shall deliver a copy of such finding and order, recommendation or authorization to the claimant and to the representative for the state, which representative may in appropriate cases be the Attorney General.

      (b) If such claim will automatically be submitted to the General Assembly by the Claims Commissioner pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 4-159, the clerk shall give written notice to the claimant that such claim will be so submitted and that the General Assembly may accept, modify or reject the recommendation of the Claims Commissioner or remand the claim to the Claims Commissioner.

      (c) If the claimant has the right pursuant to subsection (b) of section 4-158 to request the General Assembly to review the decision of the Claims Commissioner, the clerk shall give written notice to the claimant that the claimant may request the General Assembly to review the decision and that the General Assembly may confirm, modify or vacate the decision or remand the claim to the Claims Commissioner. The notice shall indicate the date by which such a request must be filed with the Office of the Claims Commissioner.

      (1959, P.A. 685, S. 10; P.A. 75-605, S. 12, 27; P.A. 84-264, S. 3, 5; P.A. 01-167, S. 4; P.A. 05-170, S. 3.)

      History: P.A. 75-605 replaced commission with claims commissioner and executive secretary with clerk of the office of the claims commissioner; P.A. 84-264 changed "attorney general" to "representative for the state, which representative may in appropriate cases be the attorney general"; P.A. 01-167 added provision that if the claim will be submitted to the General Assembly pursuant to Sec. 4-159, the clerk shall give notice to the claimant that the claim will be so submitted and that the General Assembly may accept, reject or alter the recommendation and made technical changes for purposes of gender neutrality; P.A. 05-170 designated existing provisions re finding and decision of Claims Commissioner as Subsec. (a) and amended said Subsec. to require the decision be rendered "as provided in subsection (a) of section 4-158", add references to an "authorization" of the Claims Commissioner and make a technical change, designated existing provisions re notice to the claimant as Subsec. (b) and amended said Subsec. to require the notice be given if the claim will be "automatically" submitted pursuant to "subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 4-159", require the notice be written and indicate that the General Assembly may "modify" rather than "alter" the recommendation and may remand the claim to the Claims Commissioner and added new Subsec. (c) re notice to claimant when claimant has right to request General Assembly to review decision.

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      Sec. 4-158. Decision by Claims Commissioner. Request for legislative review. Payment of smaller claims. (a) The Claims Commissioner may (1) order that a claim be denied or dismissed, (2) order immediate payment of a just claim in an amount not exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars, (3) recommend to the General Assembly payment of a just claim in an amount exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars, or (4) authorize a claimant to sue the state, as provided in section 4-160.

      (b) Any person who has filed a claim for more than seven thousand five hundred dollars may request the General Assembly to review a decision of the Claims Commissioner (1) ordering the denial or dismissal of the claim pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section, including denying or dismissing a claim that requests permission to sue the state, or (2) ordering immediate payment of a just claim in an amount not exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section. A request for review shall be in writing and filed with the Office of the Claims Commissioner not later than twenty days after the date the person requesting such review receives a copy of the decision. The filing of a request for review shall automatically stay the decision of the Claims Commissioner.

      (c) The Claims Commissioner shall submit each claim for which a request for review is filed pursuant to this section to the General Assembly pursuant to section 4-159.

      (d) If the Claims Commissioner orders immediate payment of a just claim in an amount not exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section and a request for review is not timely filed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the clerk of the Office of the Claims Commissioner shall deliver to the Comptroller a certified copy of the Claims Commissioner's order and the Comptroller shall make payment from such appropriation as the General Assembly may have made for the payment of claims or, in the case of contractual claims for goods or services furnished or for property leased, from the appropriation of the agency which received such goods or services or occupied such property.

      (e) Not later than five days after the convening of each regular session, the Claims Commissioner shall report to the General Assembly on all claims decided pursuant to this section.

      (1959, P.A. 685, S. 11; 1961, P.A. 476, S. 6; P.A. 75-605, S. 15, 27; P.A. 84-407, S. 1, 5; P.A. 05-170, S. 1.)

      History: 1961 act specified payments in case of contractual claims for goods or services be made from agency's appropriation and added Subsec. (b); P.A. 75-605 replaced commission with claims commissioner and executive secretary with clerk of the office of the claims commissioner and raised limit for immediately payable claims and for those brought before the general assembly from twenty-five hundred to five thousand dollars; P.A. 84-407 amended section by increasing claim which commissioner may immediately approve from five thousand to seven thousand five hundred dollars and similarly amended corresponding provision re claims submitted to general assembly; P.A. 05-170 amended Subsec. (a) to add Subdiv. (1) re authority to order that a claim be denied or dismissed, designate existing provision re authority to order immediate payment of a just claim in an amount not exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars as Subdiv. (2), add Subdiv. (3) re authority to recommend payment of a just claim in an amount exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars and add Subdiv. (4) re authority to authorize a claimant to sue the state, added new Subsec. (b) to authorize a person who has filed a claim for more than seven thousand five hundred dollars to request the General Assembly to review a decision of the Claims Commissioner ordering the denial or dismissal of the claim or ordering immediate payment of the claim in an amount not exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars, require the request be in writing and filed not later than twenty days after receipt of the decision and provide that the filing of the request automatically stays the decision, added new Subsec. (c) requiring the Claims Commissioner to submit each claim for which a request for review is filed to the General Assembly, designated existing provisions re delivery of a certified copy of the Claims Commissioner's order and payment by the Comptroller when the immediate payment of a claim in an amount not exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars is ordered as Subsec. (d) and amended said Subsec. to make provisions applicable if a request for review is not timely filed pursuant to Subsec. (b), designated existing provisions requiring the Claims Commissioner to report to the General Assembly on all claims decided pursuant to this section as Subsec. (e) and deleted former Subsec. (b) re procedure when a person wishes to protest an award and waive immediate payment.

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      Sec. 4-159. Submission of certain claims to legislature. Review and disposition of claims by legislature. (a) Not later than five days after the convening of each regular session and at such other times as the speaker of the House of Representatives and president pro tempore of the Senate may desire, the Claims Commissioner shall submit to the General Assembly (1) all claims for which the Claims Commissioner recommended payment of a just claim in an amount exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of section 4-158, and (2) all claims for which a request for review has been filed pursuant to subsection (b) of section 4-158, together with a copy of the Claim Commissioner's findings and the hearing record of each claim so reported.

      (b) The General Assembly shall:

      (1) With respect to a decision of the Claims Commissioner ordering the denial or dismissal of a claim pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 4-158:

      (A) Confirm the decision; or

      (B) Vacate the decision and, in lieu thereof, (i) order the payment of the claim in a specified amount, or (ii) authorize the claimant to sue the state;

      (2) With respect to a decision of the Claims Commissioner ordering the immediate payment of a just claim in an amount not exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 4-158:

      (A) Confirm the decision;

      (B) Modify the decision by ordering that a different amount be paid; or

      (C) Vacate the decision and, in lieu thereof, (i) order no payment be made, or (ii) authorize the claimant to sue the state;

      (3) With respect to a decision of the Claims Commissioner recommending payment of a just claim in an amount exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of section 4-158:

      (A) Accept the recommendation and order payment of the specified amount;

      (B) Modify the recommendation by ordering that a different amount be paid; or

      (C) Reject the recommendation and, in lieu thereof, (i) order no payment be made, or (ii) authorize the claimant to sue the state; or

      (4) With respect to a decision of the Claims Commissioner pursuant to subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of subsection (a) of section 4-158, remand the claim to the Claims Commissioner for such further proceedings as the General Assembly may direct.

      (c) The General Assembly may grant the claimant permission to sue the state under the provisions of this section when the General Assembly deems it just and equitable and believes the claim to present an issue of law or fact under which the state, were it a private person, could be liable.

      (d) If the General Assembly orders the payment of a claim, the clerk of the Office of the Claims Commissioner shall deliver to the Comptroller a notice of the order and the Comptroller shall make payment in the manner prescribed for payment of an order of the Claims Commissioner pursuant to section 4-158.

      (e) The review by the General Assembly of claims submitted to it by the Claims Commissioner under this section shall be conducted in accordance with such procedures as the General Assembly may prescribe.

      (1959, P.A. 685, S. 12; 1961, P.A. 476, S. 7; P.A. 75-605, S. 16, 27; P.A. 84-407, S. 4, 5; P.A. 89-208, S. 1, 2; P.A. 90-284, S. 1; P.A. 05-170, S. 2.)

      History: 1961 act substituted "amounts exceeding" for "claims for more than" twenty-five hundred dollars; P.A. 75-605 replaced commission with claims commissioner and raised amount of claims brought before the general assembly from twenty-five hundred to five thousand dollars; P.A. 84-407 amended section by increasing amount of claim from five thousand to seven thousand five hundred dollars; P.A. 89-208 authorized the general assembly to grant or deny the claimant permission to sue the state when it rejects the recommendation of the claims commissioner and deleted the provision that stated the general assembly shall not be required to hold public hearings on the recommendations of the claims commissioner; P.A. 90-284 added provision specifying the standard for the general assembly to apply when granting permission to sue the state; P.A. 05-170 designated existing provisions re submission to the General Assembly of the recommendations of the Claims Commissioner, together with the findings and hearing record of each claim, and the timeframe therefor, as Subsec. (a) and amended said Subsec. to replace requirement that the Claims Commissioner, after hearing, make and submit his recommendations to the General Assembly for the payment or rejection of amounts exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars with the requirement that the Claims Commissioner submit all claims where payment in an amount exceeding seven thousand five hundred dollars was recommended pursuant to Sec. 4-158(a)(3) and all claims for which a request for review has been filed pursuant to Sec. 4-158(b), replaced provision authorizing the General Assembly to accept or alter any such recommendation or reject any such recommendation and grant or deny the claimant permission to sue the state with new Subsec. (b) requiring the General Assembly to take action with respect to certain decisions of the Claims Commissioner and setting forth the dispositional options available to it for each type of decision, designated existing provision re authority of the General Assembly to grant the claimant permission to sue the state and the standard therefor as Subsec. (c), added new Subsec. (d) re procedure for payment by the Comptroller if the General Assembly orders payment and added new Subsec. (e) re procedure for the review of claims by the General Assembly.

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      Sec. 4-160. Authorization of actions against the state. (a) When the Claims Commissioner deems it just and equitable, the Claims Commissioner may authorize suit against the state on any claim which, in the opinion of the Claims Commissioner, presents an issue of law or fact under which the state, were it a private person, could be liable.

      (b) In any claim alleging malpractice against the state, a state hospital or a sanitorium or against a physician, surgeon, dentist, podiatrist, chiropractor or other licensed health care provider employed by the state, the attorney or party filing the claim may submit a certificate of good faith to the Claims Commissioner in accordance with section 52-190a. If such a certificate is submitted, the Claims Commissioner shall authorize suit against the state on such claim.

      (c) In each action authorized by the Claims Commissioner pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this section or by the General Assembly pursuant to section 4-159 or 4-159a, the claimant shall allege such authorization and the date on which it was granted, except that evidence of such authorization shall not be admissible in such action as evidence of the state's liability. The state waives its immunity from liability and from suit in each such action and waives all defenses which might arise from the eleemosynary or governmental nature of the activity complained of. The rights and liability of the state in each such action shall be coextensive with and shall equal the rights and liability of private persons in like circumstances.

      (d) No such action shall be brought but within one year from the date such authorization to sue is granted. With respect to any claim pending before the Claims Commissioner on October 1, 1992, or presented to the Claims Commissioner on or after said date for which authorization to sue is granted, any statute of limitation applicable to such action shall be tolled until the date such authorization to sue is granted. Action shall be brought against the state as party defendant in the judicial district in which the claimant resides or, if the claimant is not a resident of this state, in the judicial district of Hartford or in the judicial district in which the claim arose.

      (e) Civil process directed against the state shall be served as provided by section 52-64.

      (f) Issues arising in such actions shall be tried to the court without a jury.

      (g) The laws and rules of practice governing disclosures in civil actions shall apply against state agencies and state officers and employees possessing books, papers, records, documents or information pertinent to the issues involved in any such action.

      (h) The Attorney General, with the consent of the court, may compromise or settle any such action. The terms of every such compromise or settlement shall be expressed in a judgment of the court.

      (i) Costs may be allowed against the state as the court deems just, consistent with the provisions of chapter 901.

      (j) The clerk of the court in which judgment is entered against the state shall forward a certified copy of such judgment to the Comptroller. The Attorney General shall certify to the Comptroller when the time allowed by law for proceeding subsequent to final judgment has expired and the Attorney General shall designate the state agency involved in the action. Upon receipt of such judgment and certification the Comptroller shall make payment as follows: Amounts directed by law to be paid from a special fund shall be paid from such special fund; amounts awarded upon contractual claims for goods or services furnished or for property leased shall be paid from the appropriation of the agency which received such goods or services or occupied such property; all other amounts shall be paid from such appropriation as the General Assembly may have made for the payment of claims.

      (k) Not later than five days after the convening of each regular session, the Attorney General shall report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly on the judiciary on the status and disposition of all actions authorized pursuant to this section or section 4-159, or brought against the state under any other provision of law and in which the interests of the state are represented by the Attorney General. The report shall include: (1) The number of such actions pending in state and federal court, categorized by the alleged ground for the action, (2) the number of new actions brought in the preceding year in state and federal court, categorized by the alleged ground for the action, (3) the number of actions disposed of in the preceding year, categorized by the ground for the action that was disposed of and whether the action was disposed of by settlement or litigation to final judgment, and the amount paid for actions within the respective categories, and (4) such other information as may be requested, from time to time, by the joint standing committee of the General Assembly on the judiciary. The report shall identify each action disposed of by payment of an amount exceeding one hundred thousand dollars.

      (1959, P.A. 685, S. 13; 1961, P.A. 476, S. 8; P.A. 75-605, S. 17, 27; P.A. 78-280, S. 2, 5, 6, 127; P.A. 84-407, S. 2, 5; P.A. 88-230, S. 1, 12; P.A. 90-98, S. 1, 2; 90-284, S. 2; P.A. 92-34, S. 2; P.A. 93-142, S. 4, 7, 8; P.A. 94-120; P.A. 95-220, S. 4-6; P.A. 98-76, S. 1; P.A. 01-167, S. 3; P.A. 05-170, S. 4.)

      History: 1961 act added to Subsec. (h) provision that amounts awarded on contractual claims be paid from appropriation of agency receiving goods or services; P.A. 75-605 replaced commission with claims commissioner and deleted specific dollar amount for claims in suits against the state under Subsec. (a); P.A. 78-280 deleted words "county or" in the phrase "county or judicial district" and replaced "Hartford county" with "judicial district of Hartford-New Britain"; P.A. 84-407 amended Subsec. (b) to provide one year statute of limitations on actions authorized by claims commissioner from the date such authorization to sue was granted; P.A. 88-230 replaced "judicial district of Hartford-New Britain" with "judicial district of Hartford", effective September 1, 1991; P.A. 90-98 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1991, to September 1, 1993; P.A. 90-284 divided former Subsec. (a) into Subsecs. (a) and (b) and relettered remaining Subsecs. accordingly, and amended Subsecs. (b) and (j) to make provisions of section applicable to actions authorized by the general assembly pursuant to Sec. 4-159; P.A. 92-34 amended Subsec. (c) to provide that any statute of limitation applicable to such action shall be tolled until the date authorization to sue is granted; 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. 94-120 amended Subsec. (c) to make the provision re tolling of any statute of limitation applicable with respect to any claim pending before the claims commissioner on October 1, 1992, or presented to the claims commissioner on or after said date for which authorization to sue is granted; 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. 98-76 added new Subsec. (b) authorizing the submission of a certificate of good faith in medical malpractice claims and requiring the Claims Commissioner to authorize suit against the state if such a certificate is submitted, redesignating the remaining Subsecs. accordingly, and amended Subsec. (c) to add reference to Subsec. (b); P.A. 01-167 amended Subsec. (c) to include actions authorized by the General Assembly pursuant to Sec. 4-159a and to add exception that evidence of an authorization shall not be admissible in an action as evidence of the state's liability; P.A. 05-170 amended Subsecs. (a) and (j) to make technical changes for purposes of gender neutrality and amended Subsec. (k) to require the Attorney General to report to the "joint standing committee of the General Assembly on the judiciary" rather than to the "General Assembly", require the report to include actions "brought against the state under any other provision of law and in which the interests of the state are represented by the Attorney General", add provision requiring the report to include information re the number of pending actions, the number of new actions brought in the preceding year, the number of actions disposed of in the preceding year and the amount paid for those actions, and such other information as requested by the judiciary committee of the General Assembly, and add provision requiring the report to identify each action disposed of by payment of an amount exceeding one hundred thousand dollars.

      Subsec. (b):

      Effect of subsec. was to deprive claims commissioner of broad discretionary decision-making power to authorize suit against state in cases where claimant has brought medical malpractice claim and filed certificate of good faith. Instead, subsec. requires claims commissioner to authorize suit in all such cases. 273 C. 610.

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      Sec. 4-165. Immunity of state officers and employees from personal liability. (a) No state officer or employee shall be personally liable for damage or injury, not wanton, reckless or malicious, caused in the discharge of his or her duties or within the scope of his or her employment. Any person having a complaint for such damage or injury shall present it as a claim against the state under the provisions of this chapter.

      (b) For the purposes of this section, (1) "scope of employment" includes but is not limited to, (A) representation by an attorney appointed by the Public Defender Services Commission as a public defender, assistant public defender or deputy assistant public defender or an attorney appointed by the court as a special assistant public defender of an indigent accused or of a child on a petition of delinquency, (B) representation by such other attorneys, referred to in section 4-141, of state officers and employees in actions brought against such officers and employees in their official and individual capacities, (C) the discharge of duties as a trustee of the state employees retirement system, (D) the discharge of duties of a commissioner of the Superior Court hearing small claims matters or acting as a fact-finder, arbitrator or magistrate or acting in any other quasi-judicial position, (E) the discharge of duties of a person appointed to a committee established by law for the purpose of rendering services to the Judicial Department, including, but not limited to, the Legal Specialization Screening Committee, the State-Wide Grievance Committee, the Client Security Fund Committee, the advisory committee appointed pursuant to section 51-81d and the State Bar Examining Committee, and (F) military duty performed by the armed forces of the state while under state active duty; provided the actions described in subparagraphs (A) to (F), inclusive, of this subdivision arise out of the discharge of the duties or within the scope of employment of such officers or employees, and (2) "state employee" includes a member or employee of the soil and water district boards established pursuant to section 22a-315.

      (1959, P.A. 685, S. 25; P.A. 76-371, S. 2, 5; P.A. 80-153, S. 2; 80-197, S. 2; 80-394, S. 6, 13; P.A. 83-464, S. 1, 5; 83-533, S. 45, 54; P.A. 84-45, S. 1, 2; 84-397, S. 2, 7; 84-546, S. 10, 173; P.A. 85-152, S. 2; P.A. 99-215, S. 2; P.A. 04-257, S. 3; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 04-2, S. 20; P.A. 05-79, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 76-371 defined "scope of employment" for purposes of section; P.A. 80-153 added performance of duties of superior court commissioner in hearing small claims matter to definition of "scope of employment"; P.A. 80-197 included representation by assistant public defenders or court-appointed special assistant public defender in definition of "scope of employment"; P.A. 80-394 included court security officers as state employees for purposes of section; P.A. 83-464 replaced "performance of his duties" with "discharge of his duties" and replaced "wilful" with "reckless or malicious"; P.A. 83-533 amended section to include performance of duties as a trustee of the state employees' retirement system; P.A. 84-45 included members or employees of the soil and water district boards as state employees for purposes of section; P.A. 84-397 deleted provision that included court security officers as state employees for purposes of section; P.A. 84-546 made technical change substituting "discharge" for "performance" of duties; P.A. 85-152 included discharge of duties of commissioner of superior court acting as fact-finder, arbitrator, magistrate or in other quasi-judicial position and discharge of certain appointees rendering services to judicial department in definition of "scope of employment"; P.A. 99-215 added phrase "including, but not limited to, the Legal Specialization Screening Committee, the State-Wide Grievance Committee, the Client Security Fund Committee and the State Bar Examining Committee"; P.A. 04-257 made technical changes, effective June 14, 2004; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 04-2 added provision re advisory committee appointed pursuant to Sec. 51-81d and made technical changes; P.A. 05-79 divided section into Subsecs. (a) and (b), making technical changes in Subsec. (a) for the purposes of gender neutrality, and in newly designated Subsec. (b) inserted Subdiv. indicators for each of the existing activities enumerated in the definition of "scope of employment", and added new provision to said definition, designated as Subdiv. (F), concerning "military duty performed by the armed forces of the state while under state active duty", and made technical changes, effective June 2, 2005.

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