D. Mass. Adopts New Procedures for Handling Highly Sensitive Documents

The District of Massachusetts has joined a number of other federal courts in adopting new procedures for the filing, service and management of highly sensitive documents. These measures are being taken in response to the recent disclosure of wide-spread breaches of governmental and private computer systems. Where a party intends to file a document containing highly sensitive information, they must file a motion under seal requesting to treat the document as highly sensitive. The document in question must not be filed electronically along with the motion. Instead, two copies of the document must be delivered to the Clerk’s Office, securely packaged and labelled HIGHLY SENSITIVE DOCUMENT. The Clerk’s Office will maintain the document in a secure paper filing system. The document must be served on the other parties by any manner specified in Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(b)(2) other than by service through the Court’s electronic filing system. If a party believes that highly sensitive information has been electronically filed, the party may move to have the information removed from the electronic filing system.

Other federal courts have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, similar procedures, albeit some with slight variations (e.g., D. New Hampshire requires the filing on the electronic record of redacted versions of subject documents).

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