LA: Law firm’s files found under the interstate

If there’s one thing I really hate to see, it’s reports of confidential records blowing in the wind or exposed because medical professionals or lawyers haven’t taken proper steps to securely dispose of them. Here’s another lawyer one, from WAFB:

Below the interstate at Dalrymple and along the sidewalk, there are documents strewn about with personal information – names, account numbers and addresses just lying around for anyone to pick up.

But that’s not all. 9 News found court documents, some with social security numbers, bank statements complete with account numbers, even a Mastercard account number.

Many of the documents we picked up had an “Eaton Group” stamp at the bottom, which led us to the downtown law firm.

Greg Eaton says the documents came from his office. He is the owner of Eaton Group, a law firm that has been providing collection services in Louisiana since 1986.

He says all the documents were once involved in court cases that have since ended. Now the documents is trash that was left to be picked up by the firm’s cleaning company, Jani-King.

“They’re supposed to dispose of it, obviously, and not along the side of the interstate so past that, I can’t tell you,” said Eaton.

When asked why the papers weren’t shredded, Eaton replied, “A lot of this is public record.”

“A lot?” But not all? And even if it is public record, why not shred the files so that the information isn’t just readily available to criminals?

I just emailed the American Bar Association to ask whether they’ve ever issued any statement to members about securely disposing of such files. If I get a response, I’ll update this.

And no, I won’t point to state law, because Louisiana’s breach notification law does not cover paper records.

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