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New Mailing Address; Redacted Discovery Answers in Georgia

by merlin on June 26th, 2015
  • Sumo

Before I forget, this office has a new mailing address (which is being properly changed in the Court systems, etc., over the next few days):

Post Office Box 365
Dahlonega, Georgia 30533

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As to the subject of this post, multiple items of litigation have caused a re-examination of Georgia’s rules on Civil Discovery, and a refresher is useful for every practitioner and civil litigant, anyway.  The Georgia Code addresses the redaction of identifying information, waiver of the redaction provisions, and the protective orders that can be obtained to address these issues at Section 9-11-7.1.  Specifically, pay attention to the provisions of subsection (h), which contains a penalty for folks who fail to redact their documents initially and then insist on redacting them later.

(a) Redacted filings. Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section or unless the court orders otherwise, a filing with the court that contains a social security number, taxpayer identification number, financial account number, or birth date shall include only:

(1) The last four digits of a social security number;

(2) The last four digits of a taxpayer identification number;

(3) The last four digits of a financial account number; and

(4) The year of an individual’s birth.

(b) Garnishment. A summons of garnishment that is filed with a court shall only include the last four digits of the defendant’s social security number, taxpayer identification number, or financial account number; provided, however, that the plaintiff shall provide the defendant’s full social security number, taxpayer identification number, or financial account number, if reasonably available to the plaintiff, on the copies of the summons of garnishment served on the garnishee and defendant.

(c) Exemptions from redaction requirement. Subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to the following:

(1) A financial account number that identifies property allegedly subject to forfeiture in a civil forfeiture proceeding;

(2) The official record of an administrative or agency proceeding;

(3) The official record of a court or tribunal in another case or proceeding;

(4) A filing made in a probate court; and

(5) A filing made under seal as provided in subsection (d) of this Code section.

(d) Filings made under seal. The court may order that a filing be made under seal without redaction. The court may later unseal the filing or order the filer to file a redacted version for the public record. A filer may petition the court to file an unredacted filing under seal. The court shall retain all filings made under seal as part of the record.

(e) Correction of unredacted information. An inadvertent failure to redact information which is required to be redacted shall be a curable defect and shall not preclude a document from being filed with the court. The court may order an unredacted filing be sealed and may also order that a redacted version of the same filing be filed for the public record.

(f) Protective orders. For good cause, the court may:

(1) Order a filing which contains additional personal or confidential information, other than the information required to be redacted pursuant to this Code section, be sealed and may also order that a redacted version of the same filing be filed for the public record; and

(2) Limit or prohibit a nonparty’s remote electronic access to a document filed with the court.

(g) Option for reference list. A filing that contains redacted information may be filed together with a reference list that identifies each item of redacted information and specifies an appropriate identifier that uniquely corresponds to each item listed. Such reference list shall be filed under seal and may be amended as of right. Any reference in a civil action to a listed identifier shall be construed to refer to the corresponding item of information.

(h) Waiver of protected identifiers. A filer waives the protections provided by subsection (a) of this Code section to the extent that he or she makes his or her own filing without redaction and not under seal.

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