April 2012 Update

The following bills relating to alternative dispute resolution were introduced by the 112nd U.S. Congress. The session convened in Washington, D.C. on January 3, 2011 and will end on January 3, 2013.

Bills that passed:

Patent Reform Act of 2011 (a.k.a. America Invents Act). The Act provides, among other things that parties to a derivation proceeding may resolve the dispute via arbitration. See Section 135(f). H.R. 1249. H.R. 1249 was signed by President Obama on Sept. 16, 2011 and became Public Law No. 112-29.

Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011. Provides, among other things, that “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be expended for any Federal contract for an amount in excess of $1,000,000 unless the contractor agrees not to-1) enter into any agreement with any of its employees or independent contractors that requires, as a condition of employment, that the employee or independent contractor agree to resolve through arbitration any claim under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or any tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention.” H.R.1473. The Act was signed by the President on April 15, 2011 and became Public Law No. 112-10.

Bills still pending:

Consumer Mobile Fairness Act of 2011. The bill would amend title 9 of the United States Code to prohibit mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts for mobile service. S. 1652.

Disaster Recovery Act of 2011. The bill would create a dispute resolution program to facilitate an efficient recovery from major disasters. S. 1630.

Personal Data Protection and Breach Accountability Act of 2011. As introduced, the bill provides that the rights and remedies afforded by this section shall not be abridged or precluded by any predispute arbitration agreement. S. 1535 IS; S. 1535 RS.

Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act. The bill would create an emergency jobs program during 2012 and 2013. The bill provides that each unit of general local government that is an entitlement community and each State that receives funding under the Act shall agree to the arbitration procedure described in the Act to resolve certain disputes. H.R. 2914.

American Specialty Agriculture Act. The Act would create a non-immigrant H-2C work visa program for agricultural workers and provides that any H-2C worker may, as a condition of employment with an employer, be subject to mandatory binding arbitration and mediation of any grievance relating to the employment relationship. H.R. 2847.

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by Victoria VanBuren

Victoria VanBuren is the voice of the acclaimed “Disputing” blog. She assists Karl Bayer with his publications. Prior to becoming the blogmaster, Victoria obtained a law degree from UT Law and worked as an attorney for a boutique intellectual property firm.