To deter identity theft and other abuses, New York state courts are now requiring litigants filing papers in civil actions to omit or redact certain confidential personal information. These new requirements are similar to the privacy protections effective in federal courts since 2007. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2.
By statute, New York has long required Social Security numbers to be removed or redacted from court filings. See N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 399-ddd(6); N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 96-a(1). The new privacy rule now addresses these additional types of personally identifiable information:
- taxpayer identification numbers, including not only Social Security numbers but also employer identification numbers;
- dates of birth;
- minors’ names; and
- financial account numbers, including credit card, debit card, bank account, investment account and insurance account numbers.
The rule allows court filings to include truncated versions of this information, which means parties may file the last four digits of taxpayer identification and financial account numbers, an individual’s year of birth and a minor’s initials. See N.Y. Uniform Civil Rules of the Supreme and County Courts, 22 NYCRR § 202.5.
This rule covers cases filed electronically on the NYS Courts Electronic Filing System and paper-filed cases. The rule, however, exempts matrimonial actions, proceedings in Surrogate’s Court or pursuant to Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law, all of which have their own privacy protections. Further, in actions arising out of a consumer credit transaction, when a defendant denies responsibility for an identified account, the plaintiff may, without leave of court, amend its pleading under seal to include the full account information.
The rule places the redaction responsibility on the party submitting the papers to a court. Parties may apply for a court order to include unredacted confidential personal information for “good cause.”
A full copy of the new rule is available at the website for the Uniform Rules for N.Y.S. Trial Courts.