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I work in the chemical industry and very often industries send chemical samples to third party test laboratories for analysis and producing test reports.

In some cases I find labs add a disclaimer of the following sort to their test reports:

"The content of this report is meant for information only and should not be used for advertisement, evidence or litigation."

What's the legal implication of this sort of disclaimer. Does it really make the output invalid for use in litigation? Is there any precedent on this sort of disclaimer.

Can a party unilaterally prohibit any of its output from use as evidence in litigation? Will the courts respect such disclaimers?

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Can a party unilaterally prohibit any of its output from use as evidence in litigation?

The disclaimer is not really a prohibition, but a warning against relying on the underlying report or product for any of the listed purposes. Thereby the issuer informs that it did not apply, did not attempt to apply, and/or ought not be presumed to have applied, the standards that are requisite or reasonably expected for the listed purposes.

Absent a disclaimer of that sort, the issuer exposes itself to liability for losses that could have been prevented had the issuer informed the consumer on what to expect from the product as well as the limitations thereof.

Will the courts respect such disclaimers?

The disclaimer primarily substantiates a party's objection to the adversary's intent (if any) to use the report or product as evidence. If all parties stipulate that such report be used as evidence, the judge might still have discretion on whether to admit it. But that is different from construing the disclaimer as something the issuer prohibits.

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    I'm also guessing that theres a desire on the part of the report issuer not to have to spend time and money defending their reports, practices and policies in courts unless specifically remunerated up front for that possibility - the record keeping for example may be very different between a regular report and a legal-standard report, may involve more people, more runs of the test etc.
    – user28517
    Sep 30 '20 at 19:29

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