Who is responsible for redacting documents filed with the Court?
Pursuant to Ohio Rule of Superintendence 45(D)(1) and 45(D)(3), the responsibility for omitting personal identifiers from an electronically submitted document shall rest solely with the attorney or filing party.
The Court is not required to review the document, or any existing case documents, to confirm that the attorney or filing party has omitted personal identifiers, or otherwise sensitive information.
For additional information regarding conventional and electronic document submissions, see the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio and the Probate Court E-File System Policies and Procedures.
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What if documents with sensitive or personal information are filed with the Probate Court?
The agency, attorney, or pro se party may file a motion in the Probate Court Clerks Office requesting that the original document be redacted or sealed.
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Does the Probate Court redact documents filed by attorneys/parties or other agencies?
In a limited capacity, the Probate Court uses a commercial software program to redact some personal identifiers and similarly sensitive information as part of its initial review of filings. The use of this software is strictly limited to typed filings submitted conventionally or electronically (E-Filed).
The Court’s use of this software is a courtesy with limited scope and availability.
It is not intended as a guarantee that all sensitive or personal information will be redacted, nor is it intended to replace the responsibility of the filing party for excluding or redacting personal identifiers or otherwise sensitive information prior to filing documents with the Court.
If, at the time of filing, Court personnel notice personal identifiers or other confidential information, they may (but are not required to do so) inquire if the filer wants to redact the information or re-file the document.
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What is the recommended method for redacting personal identifiers?
The Court does not endorse any specific method for redacting personal identifiers; the responsibility for redacting personal identifiers rests solely with the parties or agencies filing documents with the Court. This applies to documents filed conventionally as well as documents filed electronically.
Pursuant to Ohio Rule of Superintendence 45(D)(2), when personal identifiers are omitted from a document submitted to the Court, the attorney or filing party shall submit or file that information on a separate Confidential Disclosure of Personal Identifiers (Form 45D), available here
References to personal identifiers should be limited as follows: only use the last four digits of Social Security, tax payer identification, and financial account numbers; and reference dates of birth using only the year.
For additional information regarding personal identifiers, please review Rule 44(H) of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio.
Note: The protection of sensitive data can be compromised if improper redaction techniques are used in word processed and PDF documents.
For example: (a) highlighting text in black or using a black box over the data in MS Word or Adobe will not protect the data from being able to be seen; and (b) changing the text color to white so it disappears against the white screen/paper is similarly ineffective.
Commercially available software may be used to redact sensitive information from word processed documents and PDF documents.
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