Redacting Confidential Information – Supreme Court Rules

How to Redact Confidential Information on Papers Submitted to the NYS Supreme Court

It’s a pain in the neck because it’s time-consuming but it now has to be done and it’s easy to do.  It’s easy to do it the wrong way!  Do you think you know how to do it properly?  See below.

Confidential personal information must now be omitted or redacted from all papers submitted to the Supreme Court or County Court, whether submitted on paper or e-filed. (PART 202. Uniform Civil Rules For The Supreme Court And The County Court – Section 202.5 Papers filed in court)

What Is Confidential Personal Information and What Must Be Redacted?

§202.5(e)(1) states confidential personal information (“CPI”) means:

  1. the taxpayer identification number of an individual or an entity, including a social security number, an employer identification number, and an individual taxpayer identification number, except the last four digits thereof;
  2. the date of an individual’s birth, except the year thereof;
  3. the full name of an individual known to be a minor, except the minor’s initials; and
  4. a financial account number, including a credit and/or debit card number, a bank account number, an investment account number, and/ or an insurance account number, except the last four digits or letters thereof.

Where Confidential Personal Information Is Likely to Be Found

Confidential personal information submitted to the court is most likely to be attached as an exhibit to a motion in:

  • Bill of Particulars
  • medical records
  • employment records and
  • authorizations

How to Properly Redact Information from a PDF

If you select text in a PDF and black it out using the highlight tool, you have not redacted any information. All that has happened is that you can’t see it anymore because you made the white space the same black color as the text but the information is still there and can easily be seen. Just copy the blacked out text and paste it anywhere and you’ll see it just fine.

This is a mistake that has been made by employees at the US government and large corporations, so never use the highlight tool unless you follow the directions below.

You can safely redact information from a PDF document in any of the following ways:

  1. Using the highlight tool, you can print the PDF on paper and scan the paper document again.
  2. Using the highlight tool, you can print the PDF to a PDF. Note that you must print the PDF, not save it as another file with a different name.  When printing, choose a PDF print driver instead of the print driver for your paper laser printer.
  3. Use the redaction tool in your PDF software (see the links below).

How to Properly Redact PDF files using Adobe – video

How to Properly Redact PDF files using Adobe

How to Properly Redact PDF files using Foxit

Don’t forget when e-filing to the New York State Supreme Court, you must e-file a PDF/A file.