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§16-1-15. Investigations and hearings; power to administer oaths, subpoena witnesses, etc.; use of information and material acquired.

(a) The secretary, the commissioner, any officer or employee of the department designated by the secretary, or any other individual designated by the secretary may hold investigations, inquiries and hearings concerning matters covered by the laws of this state pertaining to public health and within the authority and the rules and orders of the secretary. Hearings shall be open to the public and shall be held upon any call or notice considered advisable by the secretary.

(b) Each individual designated to hold any inquiry, investigation or hearing may administer oaths and affirmations, certify to all official acts, issue subpoenas and order the attendance and testimony of witnesses in the production of papers, books and documents. In case of the failure of any person to comply with any subpoena or order issued under the authority of this section, the secretary or his or her authorized representative may invoke the aid of any circuit court of this state. The court may thereupon order that person to comply with the requirements of the subpoena order or to give evidence as to the matter in question. Failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt of court.

(c) Subject to the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the secretary may in his or her discretion make available to appropriate federal, state and municipal agencies information and material developed in the course of its investigation and hearings: Provided, That information obtained from studies or from any investigation made or hearing held pursuant to the provisions of this article may not be admissible in evidence in any action at law to recover damages for personal injury or in any action under the workers' compensation act, but the information, if available, shall be furnished upon request to the executive director of the workers' compensation commission for the sole purpose of adjusting claims presented to the commission.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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