New Iowa Supreme Court Rule Requires Lawyers to Protect Clients’ Personal Information

A new Iowa Supreme Court rule requires lawyers to protect clients’ personal information in an effort to combat identity theft. Rule 1.422(1)(a)(2) of the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure states it is the responsibility of counsel and the parties to ensure that protected information is not included or redacted from court documents. The Clerk of Court will not review documents or materials to make sure personal information has been omitted or redacted.

Protected information includes:

1. Social security numbers.
2. Financial account numbers.
3. Personal identification numbers.
4. Other unique identifiers.

If a social security number is required only the last 4 numbers should be used. If financial account information is required only incomplete account numbers should be included.

Counsel is not required to omit or redact protected information from materials or cases deemed confidential by the Iowa Supreme Court: however, omission or redaction is required in proceedings that are initially confidential but which later become public such a divorce proceedings.

A party may also omit other personal information unless it is material to the proceedings or unless disclosure is required by law including:

a. Other personal identifying information such as driver’s license numbers.
b. Information concerning medical treatment or diagnosis.
c. Employment history.
d. Personal financial information.
e. Proprietary or trade secret information.
f. Information concerning a person’s cooperation with the government.
g. Information concerning crime victims.
h. Sensitive security information.
i. Home addresses.
j. Date of birth.
k. Names of minor children.

The new rule is effective November 1, 2006.

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