Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On April 19, 2022, the Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) released updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about “Personal Identifying Information in Court Filings” that addressed the general rules, orders, and standards regarding the protection of Personal Identifying Information (PII).

Michigan Court Rule (MCR) 1.109(D)(9)(a) provides that protected personal identifying information “shall not be included in any public document or attachment filed with the court . . . except as provided by these rules[.]” The SCAO developed court records management standards regarding PII and also summarized relevant sections.

What information is considered “protected” PII? MCR 1.109(D)(9)(a) provides that the following PII is protected: “i. Date of birth, ii. Social security number or national identification number, iii. Driver’s license number or state-issued personal identification card number, iv. Passport number, and v. Financial account numbers.”

In December 2021, the Michigan Supreme Court amended a previous amendment of MCR 1.109 regarding the redaction of the date of birth (DOB) from court records, which are used as identifiers by background screening firms when preparing background check reports. The amendment took effect on April 1, 2022.

The amendment addressed concerns brought by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) – a non-profit trade organization representing the background screening industry – about the previous amendment that would have prohibited the display of DOBs in court records and affected background checks.

Background screening firms are regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which requires them to match personal identifiers such as DOBs to a background check subject to ensure accuracy. If identifiers cannot be matched, a background check report cannot be generated, and that had raised concerns from the PBSA.

Dates of birth contained in court records in Michigan are protected personal identifying information under MCR 1.109 and may not be accessed unless allowed by law or court rule. However, a person may provide written consent for another person or agency to access their DOB information in court records.

On April 1, 2022, the SCAO Consent Verification Registration became available to allow “authorized individuals” to provide written consent for another person or agency to access identifiers such as DOB in court records. The website for registering as an “authorized individual” is available at www.courts.michigan.gov/CVRApp.

The list of authorized individuals is publicly available on the SCAO website and will identify the authorized individual’s full name, employer/hiring entity, email address, and the expiration dates of their assurance and proof of professional liability insurance. The list is available at www.courts.michigan.gov/AuthorizedList.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a service offering of ClearStar, a leading HR-technology company specializing in background and medical screening services. Both ClearStar and ESR are founding members of the PBSA and are accredited by the PBSA. To learn more about background screening services, contact ESR today.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar – does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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