The Court of Appeals has just approved a new rule regarding the use of personal information in court records. Below is a notice regarding the new rule. A copy of the new rule is available on the Real Property Section’s website here.
Effective July 1, 2013, new Rule 1-322.1 will go into effect. The new rule instructs attorneys or other persons who file documents with a court to keep unnecessary personal identifier information out of the court records, unless there is a legal obligation to include such information. Under Rule 1-322.1(a), the following personal identifier information shall not be included in any electronic or paper filing with a court:
(1) an individual’s Social Security number, taxpayer identification number, or date of birth; or
(2) the numeric or alphabetic characters of a financial or medical account identifier.
The Rule sets forth alternatives when it is necessary to include personal identifier information. Rule 1-322.1 merits careful study.
The adoption of Rule 1-322.1 also makes it timely to remind persons who file information with a court, including a document to be filed in the land records, about the requirements of chapter 452 of the 2010 session, which applies to any document that is made available over the internet. That law protects Social Security numbers and drivers’ license numbers from being displayed over the internet. Presently, only land records are being displayed over the internet. The law provides, in Real Property Article § 3-111(b) that, “On or after June 1, 2010, a person may not include personal information in a deed or other recordable instrument intended for recording.” It also reflects the fact that there is no legitimate need to put Social Security numbers or driver’s license numbers in a recordable instrument.
Accordingly, please do not include any unnecessary personal information or personal identifying information in a document filed with a court. If it is necessary, take the proper measures to ensure that the information remains confidential. Any violation of Rule 1-322.1 may result in the document being stricken.
Finally, with respect to case records that are being filed with a court, the filer should remember that there is an obligation in Rule 16-1010(a) for the filer to notify the custodian if there is confidential information included in that record. The notification should specifically inform the clerk what information is confidential.