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Eastern District of Texas

Honorable Rodney Gilstrap, Chief Judge
David A. O'Toole, Clerk of Court

Sensitive Information

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Filing and Redaction of Sensitive Information

Sensitive or Confidential Information

Documents requested or authorized to be filed under seal or filed ex parte shall be filed in electronic form. All sealed documents filed with the court must comply with the file size and other form requirements of Local Rules CV-5(a) and CV-7. Counsel is responsible for serving documents under seal.

Please also ensure you use an event from the “Sealed Events” category. The Motion to Seal, and Motion to Seal Case events that are available in the “Motions” category will not protect the documents you attach. The Motion to Seal event is available for a public motion to seal that is filed pursuant to LR 5(a)(7)(C), which precedes the sealed filing. Pay careful attention to the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) you receive at the end of any entry for a document you intend to file under seal. The Motion to Seal Case event works similarly.

If you used a sealed event, the NEF will confirm that your entry was filed under seal and notice was not transmitted through the ECF system. If the NEF indicates that it was distributed, contact our office immediately so we may assist you in applying a seal to the entry. (If a recipient’s account is configured to receive instant notice, the clerk cannot recall a NEF, which will display the docket text, but access to the PDF will be denied if the seal is applied before the document hyperlink is accessed. Be careful to select an appropriate event.)

Witness Lists

When preparing a witness list, do not include the witnesses’ addresses. Witness lists are not considered sealed documents, and when scanned, are available over the internet.


The parties shall refrain from including, or shall redact where inclusion is necessary, the following personal identifiers from all documents filed with the court:

1. Social Security Numbers. If an individual’s Social Security number must be included in a document, only the last four digits of that number should be used.

2. Names of Minor Children. If the involvement of minor children must be mentioned, only the initials of that child should be used.

3. Dates of birth. If an individual’s date of birth must be included in a document, only the year should be used.

4. Financial account numbers. If financial account numbers are relevant, only the last four digits of these numbers should be used.

5. Home addresses in Criminal Cases. If a home address must be included, only the city and state should be listed.

The purpose of this rule is to avoid publication of sensitive personal information in court documents that are available on the internet. The responsibility for redacting personal identifiers rests solely with counsel and the parties. The clerk will not review each pleading for compliance with this rule.