You are conducting the final hearing of a high-dollar construction arbitration. Opposing counsel hands you the next document that counsel plans to use in questioning the witness on the stand. You notice that the document is bates stamped but has no exhibit number. So, you quickly consult opposing counsel’s exhibit list and – gasp – you find that the document is not on the list. What do you do? Do you object?
Assuming this is not your first construction arbitration hearing, you do not object. Why? Because your objection would be futile. Construction arbitrators simply do not exclude evidence on the basis that it does not appear on an exhibit list. (Evidence not produced in discovery or otherwise previously provided might be a different case.) In an informal poll of a dozen construction lawyers conducted by this author, not one reported evidence being excluded solely because it did not appear on an exhibit list. This remained true even when the applicable case management order purported to prohibit the introduction of evidence not on an exhibit list. Thus, to be used in an arbitration hearing, documents must appear on an exhibit list, unless they don’t, in which case you can use them anyway. So far, so pointless.