Recovery professionals handling claims in Arbitration Forums, Inc.’s Property Arbitration Forum should be aware that, as of March 1, 2012, Arbitration Forums will be implementing new rules for hearings. Rule 3-7 now states that the written Contentions and supporting evidence submitted are all that is to be considered by an arbitrator, and that a party attending the hearing is not allowed to verbally present its case or offer any argument that is not included within the written Contentions. Rule 3-7(a) also provides that a representative who attends a hearing may only clarify, at the arbitrator’s request, his or her party’s Contentions and/or submitted evidence. Consequently, under the new rules, a recovery professional presenting a claim can only answer the questions of the arbitrators and can no longer present arguments.
Rule 3-7 has been also been amended to state that additional evidence can no longer be submitted at the time of the hearing, rather it must be uploaded or submitted to Arbitration Forums by the Materials Due Date.
These new changes to Rule 3-7 go along with the trend in Arbitration Forums of holding “staff hearings,” which are hearings held via a conference call in which the parties are only allowed to answer the questions of the arbitration panel. When preparing your arbitration package, try to anticipate all of the potential written evidence and file materials that you may need to rely upon in presenting your claim. Given these changes, recovery professionals should err on the side of being over inclusive when submitting evidence and supporting documentation.