The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued Miscellaneous Order No. 61-1 on January 15, 2021 that prohibits filing of Highly Sensitive Documents in CM-ECF (Pacer), the e-filing system used by the Federal Courts. Recently, it was discovered that Pacer, including potentially Highly Sensitive Document filings, was impacted by the SolarWinds data breach. A widely reported bug in SolarWinds’ software and applications resulted in reports of security breaches at multiple federal agencies, Microsoft, and other private companies.
Highly Sensitive Documents, according to the order, include documents such as search warrants, applications for electronic surveillance, protective orders for non-public intellectual property, and similar sensitive information. Highly Sensitive Documents are not expected to include pre-sentence reports and pre-trial release reports, social security records, administrative records in immigration cases, or most sealed filings in civil cases. The order is in place until further order of the court. It is expected that other federal district courts will follow suit with similar orders. Attorneys should check their local rules for additional updates.
Virtus Law, PLLC continues to monitor developments in this area and will continue to post relevant updates to this website.