(a) Consideration of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Appropriate Cases.—Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary and except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), each district court shall, by local rule adopted under section 2071(a), require that litigants in all civil cases consider the use of an alternative dispute resolution process at an appropriate stage in the litigation. Each district court shall provide litigants in all civil cases with at least one alternative dispute resolution process, including, but not limited to, mediation, early neutral evaluation, minitrial, and arbitration as authorized in sections 654 through 658. Any district court that elects to require the use of alternative dispute resolution in certain cases may do so only with respect to mediation, early neutral evaluation, and, if the parties consent, arbitration.
(b) Actions Exempted From Consideration of Alternative Dispute Resolution.—Each district court may exempt from the requirements of this section specific cases or categories of cases in which use of alternative dispute resolution would not be appropriate. In defining these exemptions, each district court shall consult with members of the bar, including the United States Attorney for that district.
(c) Authority of the Attorney General.—Nothing in this section shall alter or conflict with the authority of the Attorney General to conduct litigation on behalf of the United States, with the authority of any Federal agency authorized to conduct litigation in the United States courts, or with any delegation of litigation authority by the Attorney General.
(d) Confidentiality Provisions.—Until such time as rules are adopted under chapter 131 of this title providing for the confidentiality of alternative dispute resolution processes under this chapter, each district court shall, by local rule adopted under section 2071(a), provide for the confidentiality of the alternative dispute resolution processes and to prohibit disclosure of confidential dispute resolution communications.
1998—Pub. L. 105–315 amended section generally, substituting provisions relating to alternative dispute resolution jurisdiction for provisions relating to arbitration jurisdiction.
Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Exception to Limitation on Money Damages
Pub. L. 100–702, title IX, §901(c), Nov. 19, 1988, 102 Stat. 4663, provided that notwithstanding establishment by former section 652 of this title of a $100,000 limitation on money damages with respect to cases referred to arbitration, a district court listed in former section 658 of this title whose local rule on Nov. 19, 1988, provided for a limitation on money damages of not more than $150,000, could continue to apply the higher limitation, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 105–315, §12(a), Oct. 30, 1998, 112 Stat. 2998.