New Pennsylvania Policy Will Require Litigants to Remove Confidential Information From Filed Documents

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has adopted a new public access policy for court records that will dramatically change how lawyers file and access documents in all courts in the state. Attorney Daniel J. Siegel, President of Integrated Technology Services, LLC, was a member of the working group whose proposal the Court adopted. The policy, which goes into effect on January 8, 2018, will require litigants to remove confidential and sensitive information from documents filed with the courts in civil, criminal and family law cases. Click here to read the policy.

The policy outlines how requests for access are to be handled, establishes a limit on copying fees and delineates what information will be safeguarded. The policy will dramatically impact how attorneys practice, in particular, how they safeguard sensitive information in court filings The policy provides four different ways of safeguarding sensitive information, but will require litigants and parties to redact information, which has not been consistently done to date.

Parties and their attorneys will be responsible for safeguarding information in the documents they file with the courts. Courts may impose appropriate sanctions upon a party or attorney for failing to comply with the new policy. Integrated Technology Services, LLC is intimately familiar with the guidelines and regularly works with law firms to implement policies and procedures that will allow them to comply with the new policy.

The policy is the result of a multi-year review by a working group led by Commonwealth Court Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer and Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Lois E. Murphy. The work group included judges, court administrators, appellate court prothonotaries, county filing office personnel, the Supreme Court’s rules committees, the staff of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, and Attorney Dan Siegel, who represented the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Siegel and his office administrator Pamela A. Myers are the authors of the upcoming ABA book, Adobe Acrobat for Lawyers, which will be of particular relevance to all Pennsylvania attorneys as they prepare for the new requirements.

 

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