Bankruptcy Rule 9037: Redaction Issues in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Rule 9037 requires that personal identification information defined as individuals’ Social Security and taxpayer identification numbers, names of minor children, last four digits of financial account numbers, and dates of birth, be redacted from documents filed with the court. This requirement includes proofs of claims.  If a creditor inadvertently files a proof of claim or other document with the court containing a personal identifier like a social security number, a motion can be filed to restrict public access to the document and to require a redacted version be filed. See French v. American General Financial Services (In re French), 2009 WL 489609, at *7 (Bankr. E.D. Tenn. Feb. 13, 2009)(“Rule 9037 offers a remedy in the form of requesting a court order requiring redaction of the offending information or limiting or prohibiting remote electronic access to documents by nonparties.”). There is nothing contained in either the bankruptcy rule itself or the advisory committee’s notes that indicates an award of sanctions or damages would be an appropriate remedy and no separate right of action is created by the rule. See Id. (“Rule 9037 does not, on the other hand, provide a private right of action for the relief sought by the Plaintiff to cancel the debt owed to the Defendant and/or assess sanctions against the Defendant for attaching documentation to the Proof of Claim containing the Plaintiff’s full social security number and birth date.”). Sanctions are not an immediate remedy for disclosure and would be only be appropriate where it was shown that a creditor flaunted the law with knowledge of its proscriptions, failed to take remedial action once violations were discovered, or acted deliberately as opposed to mistakenly or inadvertently.” Newton v. ACC of Enter., Inc. (In re Newton), 2009 WL 277437, at *5 (Bankr. M.D. Ala. Jan. 29, 2009).

 


By: Jamie L. Harris, Esq.

Jamie Harris is a member attorney with DelCotto Law Group PLLC. Her practice of law focuses on helping business owners hurdle financial obstacles. Jamie is best known for her experience in filing Chapter 7, 11, 12, and 13 bankruptcies. In her Chapter 11 cases, Jamie has represented companies from many different industries including healthcare, nonprofit, trucking, construction, commercial real estate and telecommunications.

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