A new rule in Maryland law, 1-332.1, makes it harder for sensitive personal information to find its way into court documents and onto the Internet. This is good news for those concerned about invasion of privacy and the possibility of identity theft. A new judiciary rule that went into effect last month helps protect anyone involved in the a civil lawsuit from having their private information included in court documents. While there is already a rule in effect that says that anyone filing documents in the Maryland court system must tell the court clerk if there is confidential information inside, this new rule takes it one step further.
What It Says
Family lawyers in Maryland and any other parties filing documents in civil lawsuits in the state’s court system must now pay close attention to the information included in the documents before they are filed electronically or otherwise. This includes pleadings, depositions and other paperwork that contains sensitive personal information. Items must be either left out, removed or redacted before documents can become part of the court record. Any document that does not comply with this rule can be stricken from the record later. This does not include any items filed by a judge or someone appointed by a judge to handle the matter.
What It Covers
This new rule will impact people involved in family law cases and civil suits like divorce, child custody and separation. These can only be included if there is a legal obligation to do so.
- Tax identification numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Bank and credit card account numbers
- Medical identity codes
- Social Security Numbers
Why The Change?
One reason for this new rule is that most court records are not currently available on the Internet. This is about to change. The Maryland online case management system, which currently only applies to land records, will be transitioning in the next few years to include all civil cases. In other words, all of the information in digital case files will be free of personally identifying information by the time the change takes place.