Important Privacy Protections Under the Federal Rules
All filers are advised that all documents filed with the court will be available to the public on the internet through PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) and the court’s Electronic Case Filing (ECF) system. For this reason, CERTAIN PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION SHOULD BE OMITTED FROM OR SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED TO THE COURT FOR FILING.
Rule 5.2 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for privacy protection of electronic or paper filings made with the court. Rule 5.2 applies to ALL documents submitted for filing, including pleadings, exhibits to pleadings, discovery responses, and any other document submitted by any party or nonparty for filing. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a party or nonparty filer should not put certain types of personal identifying information in documents submitted for filing to any United States District Court. If it is necessary to file a document that already contains personal identifying information, the personal identifying information should be “blacked out” or redacted before the document is submitted to the Clerk’s Office for filing. A person filing any document containing their own personal identifying information waives the protection of Rule 5.2(a) by filing the information without redaction and not under seal.
- Personal information protected by Rule 5.2(a):
- Social Security and Taxpayer identification numbers. If an individual’s social security number or a taxpayer identification number must be included in a document, the filer may include only the last four digits of that number.
- Names of Minor Children. If the involvement of a minor child must be mentioned, the filer may include only the initials of that child.
- Dates of Birth. If an individual’s date of birth must be included in a document, the filer may include only the year of birth.
- Financial Account Numbers. If financial account numbers are relevant, the filer may include only the last four digits of these numbers.
- Protection of other sensitive personal information – such as driver’s license numbers and alien registration numbers – may be sought under Rule 5.2(d) (filings made under seal) and (e) (protective orders).