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From the U.S. House of Representatives Downloadable U.S. Code
[uscode.house.gov]
[Laws in effect as of January 5, 1999]

[CITE: 42USC300aa-12]

 
TITLE 42 - THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE
    CHAPTER 6A - PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE
    SUBCHAPTER XIX - VACCINES
    Part 2 - National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
    subpart a - program requirements
 
-HEAD-
    Sec. 300aa-12. Court jurisdiction
 
-STATUTE-
    (a) General rule
      The United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States
    Court of Federal Claims special masters shall, in accordance with
    this section, have jurisdiction over proceedings to determine if a
    petitioner under section 300aa-11 of this title is entitled to
    compensation under the Program and the amount of such
    compensation.  The United States Court of Federal Claims may issue
    and enforce such orders as the court deems necessary to assure the
    prompt payment of any compensation awarded.
    (b) Parties
      (1) In all proceedings brought by the filing of a petition under
    section 300aa-11(b) of this title, the Secretary shall be named as
    the respondent, shall participate, and shall be represented in
    accordance with section 518(a) of title 28.
      (2) Within 30 days after the Secretary receives service of any
    petition filed under section 300aa-11 of this title the Secretary
    shall publish notice of such petition in the Federal Register. The
    special master designated with respect to such petition under
    subsection (c) of this section shall afford all interested persons
    an opportunity to submit relevant, written information -
        (A) relating to the existence of the evidence described in
      section 300aa-13(a)(1)(B) of this title, or
        (B) relating to any allegation in a petition with respect to
      the matters described in section 300aa-11(c)(1)(C)(ii) of this
      title.
    (c) United States Court of Federal Claims special masters
      (1) There is established within the United States Court of
    Federal Claims an office of special masters which shall consist of
    not more than 8 special masters.  The judges of the United States
    Court of Federal Claims shall appoint the special masters, 1 of
    whom, by designation of the judges of the United States Court of
    Federal Claims, shall serve as chief special master.  The
    appointment and reappointment of the special masters shall be by
    the concurrence of a majority of the judges of the court.
      (2) The chief special master and other special masters shall be
    subject to removal by the judges of the United States Court of
    Federal Claims for incompetency, misconduct, or neglect of duty or
    for physical or mental disability or for other good cause shown.
      (3) A special master's office shall be terminated if the judges
    of the United States Court of Federal Claims determine, upon advice
    of the chief special master, that the services performed by that
    office are no longer needed.
      (4) The appointment of any individual as a special master shall
    be for a term of 4 years, subject to termination under paragraphs
    (2) and (3). Individuals serving as special masters on December 19,
    1989, shall serve for 4 years from the date of their original
    appointment, subject to termination under paragraphs (2) and (3).
    The chief special master in office on December 19, 1989, shall
    continue to serve as chief special master for the balance of the
    master's term, subject to termination under paragraphs (2) and (3).
      (5) The compensation of the special masters shall be determined
    by the judges of the United States Court of Federal Claims, upon
    advice of the chief special master.  The salary of the chief
    special master shall be the annual rate of basic pay for level IV
    of the Executive Schedule, as prescribed by section 5315, title 5.
    The salaries of the other special masters shall not exceed the
    annual rate of basic pay of level V of the Executive Schedule, as
    prescribed by section 5316, title 5.
      (6) The chief special master shall be responsible for the
    following:
        (A) Administering the office of special masters and their
      staff, providing for the efficient, expeditious, and effective
      handling of petitions, and performing such other duties related
      to the Program as may be assigned to the chief special master by
      a concurrence of a majority of the United States Claims Courts
      (FOOTNOTE 1) judges.
       (FOOTNOTE 1) So in original.  Probably should be a reference to
    the United States Court of Federal Claims.
        (B) Appointing and fixing the salary and duties of such
      administrative staff as are necessary.  Such staff shall be
      subject to removal for good cause by the chief special master.
        (C) Managing and executing all aspects of budgetary and
      administrative affairs affecting the special masters and their
      staff, subject to the rules and regulations of the Judicial
      Conference of the United States. The Conference rules and
      regulations pertaining to United States magistrates shall be
      applied to the special masters.
        (D) Coordinating with the United States Court of Federal Claims
      the use of services, equipment, personnel, information, and
      facilities of the United States Court of Federal Claims without
      reimbursement.
        (E) Reporting annually to the Congress and the judges of the
      United States Court of Federal Claims on the number of petitions
      filed under section 300aa-11 of this title and their disposition,
      the dates on which the vaccine-related injuries and deaths for
      which the petitions were filed occurred, the types and amounts of
      awards, the length of time for the disposition of petitions, the
      cost of administering the Program, and recommendations for
      changes in the Program.
    (d) Special masters
      (1) Following the receipt and filing of a petition under section
    300aa-11 of this title, the clerk of the United States Court of
    Federal Claims shall forward the petition to the chief special
    master who shall designate a special master to carry out the
    functions authorized by paragraph (3).
      (2) The special masters shall recommend rules to the Court of
    Federal Claims and, taking into account such recommended rules, the
    Court of Federal Claims shall promulgate rules pursuant to section
    2071 of title 28. Such rules shall -
        (A) provide for a less-adversarial, expeditious, and informal
      proceeding for the resolution of petitions,
        (B) include flexible and informal standards of admissibility of
      evidence,
        (C) include the opportunity for summary judgment,
        (D) include the opportunity for parties to submit arguments and
      evidence on the record without requiring routine use of oral
      presentations, cross examinations, or hearings, and
        (E) provide for limitations on discovery and allow the special
      masters to replace the usual rules of discovery in civil actions
      in the United States Court of Federal Claims.
      (3)(A) A special master to whom a petition has been assigned
    shall issue a decision on such petition with respect to whether
    compensation is to be provided under the Program and the amount of
    such compensation.  The decision of the special master shall -
        (i) include findings of fact and conclusions of law, and
        (ii) be issued as expeditiously as practicable but not later
      than 240 days, exclusive of suspended time under subparagraph
      (C), after the date the petition was filed.
    The decision of the special master may be reviewed by the United
    States Court of Federal Claims in accordance with subsection (e) of
    this section.
      (B) In conducting a proceeding on a petition a special master -
        (i) may require such evidence as may be reasonable and
      necessary,
        (ii) may require the submission of such information as may be
      reasonable and necessary,
        (iii) may require the testimony of any person and the
      production of any documents as may be reasonable and necessary,
        (iv) shall afford all interested persons an opportunity to
      submit relevant written information -
          (I) relating to the existence of the evidence described in
        section 300aa-13(a)(1)(B) of this title, or
          (II) relating to any allegation in a petition with respect to
        the matters described in section 300aa-11(c)(1)(C)(ii) of this
        title, and
        (v) may conduct such hearings as may be reasonable and
      necessary.
    There may be no discovery in a proceeding on a petition other than
    the discovery required by the special master.
      (C) In conducting a proceeding on a petition a special master
    shall suspend the proceedings one time for 30 days on the motion of
    either party.  After a motion for suspension is granted, further
    motions for suspension by either party may be granted by the
    special master, if the special master determines the suspension is
    reasonable and necessary, for an aggregate period not to exceed 150
    days.
      (D) If, in reviewing proceedings on petitions for vaccine-related
    injuries or deaths associated with the administration of vaccines
    before October 1, 1988, the chief special master determines that
    the number of filings and resultant workload place an undue burden
    on the parties or the special master involved in such proceedings,
    the chief special master may, in the interest of justice, suspend
    proceedings on any petition for up to 30 months (but for not more
    than 6 months at a time) in addition to the suspension time under
    subparagraph (C).
      (4)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), information
    submitted to a special master or the court in a proceeding on a
    petition may not be disclosed to a person who is not a party to the
    proceeding without the express written consent of the person who
    submitted the information.
      (B) A decision of a special master or the court in a proceeding
    shall be disclosed, except that if the decision is to include
    information -
        (i) which is trade secret or commercial or financial
      information which is privileged and confidential, or
        (ii) which are medical files and similar files the disclosure
      of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of
      privacy,
    and if the person who submitted such information objects to the
    inclusion of such information in the decision, the decision shall
    be disclosed without such information.
    (e) Action by United States Court of Federal Claims
      (1) Upon issuance of the special master's decision, the parties
    shall have 30 days to file with the clerk of the United States
    Court of Federal Claims a motion to have the court review the
    decision.  If such a motion is filed, the other party shall file a
    response with the clerk of the United States Court of Federal
    Claims no later than 30 days after the filing of such motion.
      (2) Upon the filing of a motion under paragraph (1) with respect
    to a petition, the United States Court of Federal Claims shall have
    jurisdiction to undertake a review of the record of the proceedings
    and may thereafter -
        (A) uphold the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the
      special master and sustain the special master's decision,
        (B) set aside any findings of fact or conclusion of law of the
      special master found to be arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of
      discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law and issue its
      own findings of fact and conclusions of law, or
        (C) remand the petition to the special master for further
      action in accordance with the court's direction.
    The court shall complete its action on a petition within 120 days
    of the filing of a response under paragraph (1) excluding any days
    the petition is before a special master as a result of a remand
    under subparagraph (C). The court may allow not more than 90 days
    for remands under subparagraph (C).
      (3) In the absence of a motion under paragraph (1) respecting the
    special master's decision or if the United States Court of Federal
    Claims takes the action described in paragraph (2)(A) with respect
    to the special master's decision, the clerk of the United States
    Court of Federal Claims shall immediately enter judgment in
    accordance with the special master's decision.
    (f) Appeals
      The findings of fact and conclusions of law of the United States
    Court of Federal Claims on a petition shall be final determinations
    of the matters involved, except that the Secretary or any
    petitioner aggrieved by the findings or conclusions of the court
    may obtain review of the judgment of the court in the United States
    court of appeals for the Federal Circuit upon petition filed within
    60 days of the date of the judgment with such court of appeals
    within 60 days of the date of entry of the United States Claims
    Court's (FOOTNOTE 2) judgment with such court of appeals.
       (FOOTNOTE 2) So in original.  Probably should be a reference to
    the United States Court of Federal Claims.
    (g) Notice
      If -
        (1) a special master fails to make a decision on a petition
      within the 240 days prescribed by subsection (d)(3)(A)(ii) of
      this section (excluding (A) any period of suspension under
      subsection (d)(3)(C) or (d)(3)(D) of this section, and (B) any
      days the petition is before a special master as a result of a
      remand under subsection (e)(2)(C) of this section), or
        (2) the United States Court of Federal Claims fails to enter a
      judgment under this section on a petition within 420 days
      (excluding (A) any period of suspension under subsection
      (d)(3)(C) or (d)(3)(D) of this section, and (B) any days the
      petition is before a special master as a result of a remand under
      subsection (e)(2)(C) of this section) after the date on which the
      petition was filed,
    the special master or court shall notify the petitioner under such
    petition that the petitioner may withdraw the petition under
    section 300aa-21(b) of this title or the petitioner may choose
    under section 300aa-21(b) of this title to have the petition remain
    before the special master or court, as the case may be.
 
-SOURCE-
    (July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title XXI, Sec. 2112, as added Pub. L.
    99-660, title III, Sec. 311(a), Nov. 14, 1986, 100 Stat. 3761;
    amended Pub. L. 100-203, title IV, Sec. 4303(d)(2)(A), 4307(3),
    4308(a), (b), Dec. 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 1330-222, 1330-224; Pub. L.
    100-360, title IV, Sec. 411(o)(2), (3)(A), July 1, 1988, 102 Stat.
    808; Pub. L. 101-239, title VI, Sec. 6601(d)-(i), Dec. 19, 1989,
    103 Stat. 2286-2290; Pub. L. 101-502, Sec. 5(b), Nov. 3, 1990, 104
    Stat. 1286; Pub. L. 102-168, title II, Sec. 201(c), (d)(1), (h)(2),
    (3), Nov. 26, 1991, 105 Stat. 1103, 1104; Pub. L. 102-572, title
    IX, Sec. 902(b), Oct. 29, 1992, 106 Stat. 4516; Pub. L. 103-66,
    title XIII, Sec. 13632(c), Aug. 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 646.)
 
-COD-
                                CODIFICATION
      In subsec. (c)(4), ''on December 19, 1989,'' substituted for
    ''upon the date of the enactment of this subsection'' and ''on the
    date of the enactment of this subsection''.
      In subsec. (d)(3)(D), ''October 1, 1988,'' substituted for ''the
    effective date of this part''.
 
-MISC3-
                              PRIOR PROVISIONS
      A prior section 300aa-12, act July 1, 1944, Sec. 2113, was
    successively renumbered by subsequent acts and transferred, see
    section 238j of this title.
      A prior section 2112 of act July 1, 1944, was successively
    renumbered by subsequent acts and transferred, see section 238i of
    this title.
                                 AMENDMENTS
      1993 - Subsec. (d)(3)(D). Pub. L. 103-66 substituted ''30 months
    (but for not more than 6 months at a time)'' for ''540 days''.
      1992 - Subsecs. (a), (c) to (g). Pub. L. 102-572 substituted
    ''United States Court of Federal Claims'' for ''United States
    Claims Court'' and ''Court of Federal Claims'' for ''Claims
    Court'', wherever appearing.
      1991 - Subsec. (d)(3)(D). Pub. L. 102-168, Sec. 201(c), (h)(2),
    realigned margin and substituted ''540 days'' for ''180 days''.
      Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 102-168, Sec. 201(h)(3), made technical
    amendment to underlying provisions of original Act.
      Pub. L. 102-168, Sec. 201(d)(1), substituted ''or the petitioner
    may choose under section 300aa-21(b) of this title to have the
    petition remain before the special master or court, as the case may
    be'' for ''and the petition will be considered withdrawn under such
    section if the petitioner, the special master, or the court do not
    take certain actions'' before period at end.
      1990 - Subsec. (d)(3)(D). Pub. L. 101-502, Sec. 5(b)(1), added
    subpar. (D).
      Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 101-502, Sec. 5(b)(2), added subsec. (g).
      1989 - Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 101-239, Sec. 6601(d), substituted
    ''and the United States Claims Court special masters shall, in
    accordance with this section, have jurisdiction'' for ''shall have
    jurisdiction (1)'', ''. The United States Claims Court may issue''
    for '', and (2) to issue'', and ''deems'' for ''deem''.
      Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 101-239, Sec. 6601(f), substituted ''In
    all proceedings brought by the filing of a petition under section
    300aa-11(b) of this title, the Secretary shall be named as the
    respondent, shall participate, and shall be represented in
    accordance with section 518(a) of title 28.'' for ''The Secretary
    shall be named as the respondent in all proceedings brought by the
    filing of a petition under section 300aa-11(b) of this title.
    Except as provided in paragraph (2), no other person may intervene
    in any such proceeding.''
      Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 101-239, Sec. 6601(e)(2), added subsec. (c).
    Former subsec. (c) redesignated (d).
      Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 101-239, Sec. 6601(e)(1), redesignated
    subsec. (c) as (d). Former subsec. (d) redesignated (e).
      Subsec. (d)(1). Pub. L. 101-239, Sec. 6601(g)(1), amended par.
    (1) generally.  Prior to amendment, par. (1) read as follows:
    ''Following receipt of a petition under subsection (a) of this
    section, the United States Claims Court shall designate a special
    master to carry out the functions authorized by paragraph (2).''
      Subsec. (d)(2) to (4). Pub. L. 101-239, Sec. 6601(g)(2), added
    pars. (2) to (4) and struck out former par. (2) which prescribed
    functions of special masters.
      Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 101-239, Sec. 6601(h), substituted ''Action
    by United States Claims Court'' for ''Action by court'' as heading
    and amended text generally.  Prior to amendment, text read as
    follows:
      ''(1) Upon objection by the petitioner or respondent to the
    proposed findings of fact or conclusions of law prepared by the
    special master or upon the court's own motion, the court shall
    undertake a review of the record of the proceedings and may
    thereafter make a de novo determination of any matter and issue its
    judgment accordingly, including findings of fact and conclusions of
    law, or remand for further proceedings.
      ''(2) If no objection is filed under paragraph (1) or if the
    court does not choose to review the proceeding, the court shall
    adopt the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law of the
    special master as its own and render judgment thereon.
      ''(3) The court shall render its judgment on any petition filed
    under the Program as expeditiously as practicable but not later
    than 365 days after the date on which the petition was filed.''
      Pub. L. 101-239, Sec. 6601(e)(1), redesignated subsec. (d) as
    (e). Former subsec. (e) redesignated (f).
      Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 101-239, Sec. 6601(i), inserted ''within 60
    days of the date of entry of the United States Claims Court's
    judgment with such court of appeals'' after ''with such court of
    appeals''.
      Pub. L. 101-239, Sec. 6601(e)(1), redesignated subsec. (e) as
    (f).
      1988 - Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 100-360, Sec. 411(o)(3)(A), added
    Pub. L. 100-203, Sec. 4308(a), see 1987 Amendment note below.
      Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 100-360, Sec. 411(o)(2), made technical
    amendment to directory language of Pub. L. 100-203, Sec.
    4307(3)(C), see 1987 Amendment note below.
      Pub. L. 100-360, Sec. 411(o)(3)(A), added Pub. L. 100-203, Sec.
    4308(b), see 1987 Amendment note below.
      1987 - Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 100-203, Sec. 4307(3)(A), substituted
    ''United States Claims Court'' for ''district courts of the United
    States'' and ''the court'' for ''the courts''.
      Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 100-203, Sec. 4307(3)(B), substituted
    ''the United States Claims Court'' for ''the district court of the
    United States in which the petition is filed''.
      Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 100-203, Sec. 4308(a), as added by Pub.
    L. 100-360, Sec. 411(o)(3)(A), inserted '', shall prepare and
    submit to the court proposed findings of fact and conclusions of
    law,'' in introductory provisions and struck out subpar. (E) which
    read as follows: ''prepare and submit to the court proposed
    findings of fact and conclusions of law.''
      Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 100-203, Sec. 4308(b), as added by Pub. L.
    100-360, Sec. 411(o)(3)(A), inserted ''within 60 days of the date
    of the judgment'' after ''petition filed''.
      Pub. L. 100-203, Sec. 4307(3)(C), as amended by Pub. L. 100-360,
    Sec. 411(o)(2), substituted ''the United States Claims Court'' for
    ''a district court of the United States'' and ''for the Federal
    Circuit'' for ''for the circuit in which the court is located''.
      Pub. L. 100-203, Sec. 4303(d)(2)(A), redesignated subsec. (g) as
    (e) and struck out former subsec. (e) relating to administration of
    an award.
      Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 100-203, Sec. 4303(d)(2)(A), struck out
    subsec. (f) which related to revision of an award.
      Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 100-203, Sec. 4303(d)(2)(A), redesignated
    subsec. (g) as (e).
                      EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1992 AMENDMENT
      Amendment by Pub. L. 102-572 effective Oct. 29, 1992, see section
    911 of Pub. L. 102-572, set out as a note under section 171 of
    Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.
                      EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1991 AMENDMENT
      Amendment by section 201(d)(1) of Pub. L. 102-168 effective as if
    in effect on and after Oct. 1, 1988, see section 201(i)(2) of Pub.
    L. 102-168, set out as a note under section 300aa-11 of this title.
                      EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1990 AMENDMENT
      Amendment by Pub. L. 101-502 effective Sept. 30, 1990, see
    section 5(h) of Pub. L. 101-502, set out as a note under section
    300aa-11 of this title.
                      EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1989 AMENDMENT
      For applicability of amendments by Pub. L. 101-239 to petitions
    filed after Dec. 19, 1989, petitions currently pending in which the
    evidentiary record is closed, and petitions currently pending in
    which the evidentiary record is not closed, with provision for an
    immediate suspension for 30 days of all pending cases, except that
    such suspension be excluded in determining the 240-day period
    prescribed in subsec. (d) of this section, see section 6601(s)(1)
    of Pub. L. 101-239, set out as a note under section 300aa-10 of
    this title.
                      EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1988 AMENDMENT
      Except as specifically provided in section 411 of Pub. L.
    100-360, amendment by Pub. L. 100-360, as it relates to a provision
    in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, Pub. L. 100-203,
    effective as if included in the enactment of that provision in Pub.
    L. 100-203, see section 411(a) of Pub. L. 100-360, set out as a
    Reference to OBRA; Effective Date note under section 106 of Title
    1, General Provisions.
                          REVIEW BY 3-JUDGE PANEL
      Section 322(c) of Pub. L. 99-660, as added by Pub. L. 101-502,
    Sec. 5(g)(2), Nov. 3, 1990, 104 Stat. 1288, and amended by Pub. L.
    102-572, title IX, Sec. 902(b)(1), Oct. 29, 1992, 106 Stat. 4516,
    provided that: ''If the review authorized by section 2112(f)
    (subsec. (f) of this section) is held invalid because the judgment
    of the United States Court of Federal Claims being reviewed did not
    arise from a case or controversy under Article III of the
    Constitution, such judgment shall be reviewed by a 3-judge panel of
    the United States Court of Federal Claims. Such panel shall not
    include the judge who participated in such judgment.''
      (Enactment of section 322(c) of Pub. L. 99-660 by section 5(g)(2)
    of Pub. L. 101-502, set out above, effective Nov. 14, 1986, see
    section 5(h) of Pub. L. 101-502, set out as an Effective Date of
    1990 Amendment note under section 300aa-11 of this title.)
 
-SECREF-
                   SECTION REFERRED TO IN OTHER SECTIONS
      This section is referred to in sections 300aa-11, 300aa-15,
    300aa-21 of this title.



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