According to a recent Florida Bar News article, some Florida lawyers are still not complying with a Rule of Judicial Administration minimizing the amount of sensitive information in court filings. This is worrisome because online court records may become accessible by the public in the near future. As a refresher, below is a recap of what is confidential and sensitive information pursuant to the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration and how to handle it.
Rule 2.420 provides that confidential information is exempt from the public’s right of access to judicial records. When a filing contains confidential information, a Notice of Confidential Information within Court Filing must be filed by the attorney. Confidential information consists of the following:
Rule 2.425 address the filing of sensitive information. It bans any portion of social security number, bank account, charge, debit and credit card numbers from court filings. Except as provided otherwise, sensitive information may be filed, but is limited to the following format:
The long lists enumerated above may explain why some attorneys are still filing documents with confidential and sensitive information. There is just simply too much to remember. In a situation like this, a checklist may come in handy. Create and use your own confidential/sensitive information checklist before you electronically file a document with the court.
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Every year the Florida Legislature passes bills that may affect the practice of law in Florida. 2014 is no exception. Below is a summary of those bills:
On another note…
In last week’s blog post, we wrote about the importance of protecting confidential information. The legal community is not the only one concerned with this subject matter. The Florida Legislature recently passed SB 1524, an act related to security of confidential personal information. This new law requires businesses and governmental entities to take reasonable measures to protect and secure data containing personal information in electronic form. If a breach takes place, the law also provides for notification to the Department of Legal Affairs and to the individuals under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, SB 1524 does not define or explain what reasonable measures an entity should take to protect the data.
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Security of confidential information is a real concern for attorneys because it is at the foundation of the attorney-client relationship. If an attorney fails to take appropriate steps to keep electronic documents secure, it can result in a release of sensitive information, a malpractice suit and disciplinary sanctions. Therefore, it is important for attorneys to verify the virtual paralegal they contract with takes the following steps to keep the attorney’s information secure and confidential:
If you still have concerns regarding the security of confidential information, your virtual paralegal should involve you in the decision making process as to how file sharing takes place and how electronic documents are retained. Don't hesitate to contact Your Paralegal Help Desk if you have any questions on this matter.
Disclaimer: The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Your Paralegal Help Desk's blogger is not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should immediately seek the advice of a licensed attorney in your state.