Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

New Y2K Law Encourages ADR Use

Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

New Y2K Law Encourages ADR Use

Article excerpt

President Clinton has signed a legislation that addresses possible litigation pertaining to computer problems anticipated with the approach of the year 2000. The new law includes provisions that encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution processes to resolve such disputes.

The Year 2000 Readiness and Responsibility Act (H.R. 775) was signed into law by Clinton on July 20. U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis (R-Va.), who sponsored the Act, said the Act was meant to create an environment that promotes efforts to fix the so-called Y2K problems.

The Y2K problem refers to an anticipated glitch in computer software programs that identify years using only two digits. These programs assume that years begin with "19" and will identify "00" as 1900 instead of 2000.

The new Y2K law seeks to encourage businesses to focus on addressing, fixing, and testing their year 2000 problems, and to minimize any possible business disruptions associated with Y2K issues. The Act applies to any Y2K civil action in which a plaintiff's alleged harm or injury stems from a Y2K failure that occurs before Jan. 1, 2003, including any appeal, remand, stay, or other judicial, administrative, or alternative dispute resolution proceeding in such action. It is inapplicable to a claim for personal injury or wrongful death.

Among other things, the Act provides that a plaintiff may not commence a court action for 90 days during which the plaintiff is required to notify a prospective defendant about the plaintiff's Y2K claim. …

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