Feb 5, 2024
The Kansas District Court suffered a cyberattack that disabled its court system in October 2023. Finally, the online portal allowing access to the records has reopened. As such, the public may resume accessing the court system’s information online. Unfortunately, employers and others attempting background checks may see continued delays.
The state’s online court system shutdown happened after a “sophisticated foreign cyberattack,” according to the court’s announcement on October 12, 2023. Upon learning of the attack, the state entirely disconnected the system from external access. This action caused disruptions to the e-filing of court documents and access to checking existing files.
Recently, the district court revealed the reopening of the court system. It announced that the public may electronically file for cases currently in the e-court case management system. However, the district court also mentioned that it has a few exceptions. Furthermore, the court will continue using paper records for new cases until it can restore more functionality to the online system.
Despite restoring online access to the system, employers and other parties noted how delays in background checks have continued. These delays have significantly impacted many job seekers and employers requiring background checks. For example, many applicants in the healthcare industry remain in limbo as they wait for delayed background checks to clear. Many speculate that these delays will continue as long as the district court’s record system struggles with its own delays.
Parties searching the case record system for background checks should know that the information may prove outdated. This result is due to the system’s shutdown forcing attorneys to utilize paper filing processes. As such, court workers will work on digitizing the papers and gradually introducing the information to the online system.
As a result, information after October 12, 2023, may not appear in the e-court case filing system for some time. Instead, background-checking parties could rely on an alternative criminal history record search. For example, they could try the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s (KBI) record search. Concerned parties must understand that depending on the KBI as an alternative is not a guaranteed solution.
Processing the physical records created during the shutdown will require considerable time. As such, some offices will temporarily modify hours to provide court clerks additional time to work on the transfers. The courts also indicated that the Office of Judicial Administration will provide additional information, including a timeline, as the work to restore the system completely continues.
Information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only and should not constitute as legal advice. We recommend you contact your own legal counsel for any questions regarding your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.