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Court amends confidentiality rule

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Florida Supreme Court SealThe Supreme Court has approved a minor change to Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420(d) to improve confidentiality protections for people reporting child abuse.

The change incorporates by reference an amendment to F.S. Chap. 39, passed by the Legislature earlier this year. F.S. § 39.202 had prohibited releasing the name of anyone reporting “child abuse, abandonment, or neglect” and this year’s amendment also banned releasing “identifying information with respect to” the person reporting such abuse.

The Chap. 39 provision is the first of 23 categories listed in Rule 2.420 designating information in court filings that is automatically confidential. The rule requires lawyers to notify clerks when a filing has protected information and also identifies those categories, according to the opinion, “as information the clerk must designate and maintain as confidential. . . . ”

The change was effective immediately with the October 3 opinion. Because the rule amendment had not been previously noticed or advertised, the court gave interested parties 75 days from that date to make comments.

The court acted in In re: Amendments to the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration 2.420 — 2019 Fast-Track Report, Case No. SC19-1531.