< Back to S. 1852 (104th Congress, 1995–1996)

Text of the Department of Energy Class Action Lawsuit Act

This bill was introduced on June 7, 1996, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 7, 1996 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

S 1852 IS

104th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 1852

To bar class action lawsuits against Department of Energy contractors for nonphysical injuries, to bar the award of punitive damages against Department of Energy contractors for incidents occurring before August 20, 1988, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 7, 1996

Mr. JOHNSTON introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To bar class action lawsuits against Department of Energy contractors for nonphysical injuries, to bar the award of punitive damages against Department of Energy contractors for incidents occurring before August 20, 1988, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Department of Energy Class Action Lawsuit Act’.

SEC. 2. CLASS ACTIONS.

    Section 170n. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2210(n)) is amended by adding after paragraph (3) the following:

      ‘(4)(A) An action may not be maintained as a class action under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure against any person indemnified by the United States under section 170d. with respect to any claim for a nonphysical injury that arises from a nuclear incident or precautionary evacuation regardless of when it occurred.

      ‘(B) For purposes of this paragraph, ‘nonphysical injury’ includes--

        ‘(i) emotional distress and any mental or emotional harm (such as fright or anxiety) that is not directly brought about by a physical injury even though it may manifest itself in physical symptoms; and

        ‘(ii) diminution of value of property resulting from fear or reputation and not from physical injury or loss.

      ‘(C) For purposes of this paragraph and paragraph (5), the term ‘person indemnified by the United States under section 170d.’ means any person indemnified by the United States--

        ‘(i) under section 170d.; or

        ‘(ii) under any other authority that obligates the United States to make payments relating to a nuclear incident or precautionary evacuation that arises from activities conducted under contract with the Department of Energy or any of its predecessor agencies.’.

SEC. 3. MEDICAL MONITORING.

    Section 170n. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2210(n)) is further amended by adding at the end the following:

      ‘(5)(A) Except in the case of an extraordinary nuclear occurrence, medical monitoring provided by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry under section 104(i) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (42 U.S.C. 9604(i)) shall be the exclusive remedy for any claim for medical monitoring in a public liability action against a person indemnified by the United States under section 170d. No court may grant a remedy for a claim for medical monitoring in a public liability action except in the case of an extraordinary nuclear occurrence or as provided in section 310(a)(2) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (42 U.S.C. 9659(a)(2)).

      ‘(B) For purposes of this paragraph, ‘medical monitoring’ includes any medical screening, testing, or surveillance program intended to detect, study, prevent, or treat bodily injury, sickness, disease, or death that may arise from a nuclear incident or precautionary evacuation.’.

SEC. 4. PUNITIVE DAMAGES.

    Section 170s. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2210(s)) is amended to read as follows:

    ‘s. LIMITATION ON PUNITIVE DAMAGES- No court may award punitive damages in any action with respect to a nuclear incident or precautionary evacuation against a person on behalf of whom the United States is obligated to make payments under any agreement of indemnification covering the incident or evacuation, regardless of--

      ‘(1) when the incident or evacuation occurred; or

      ‘(2) whether the agreement of indemnification was entered into under this Act or under any other authority.’.

SEC. 5. ACTIONS COVERED.

    The provisions of this Act shall apply to any public liability action (as defined in section 11hh. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2014(hh)) that is pending on the date of the enactment of this Act or commenced on or after such date.