West Virginia

1. Who may sue?

Any "citizen" of this state may file a petition challenging the action of a public agency under the Open Meetings Act. W. Va. Code §§ 6-9A-3 and 6. Although the statute originally required the plaintiff to "show a good faith and valid reason for making the application," the provision was deleted in a 1993 amendment. Only a person "adversely affected" by a decision may have the decision invalidated solely on the grounds the body gave improper notice of the meeting. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-3.

5. Private matter message on private hardware.

There have been no court decisions indicating how private matter messages on private hardware should be treated. However, based upon the West Virginia Court’s holding in Associated Press v. Canterbury, supra. it is likely that records of discussion of private matters on private e-mail will fall outside the law’s disclosure requirements because they fail to fall within the definition of West Virginia FOIA’s definition of “public record.”

1. State.

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10. Police techniques.

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H. Post-trial records

Overview

West Virginia

6. Material is not cumulative

A discovery request may be denied where the breadth of the information sought would result in the production of material so cumulative as to be inadmissible at trial. State Farm v. Stephens, 188 W.Va. 622, 425 S.E.2d 577 (1992). Whether or not the cumulativeness of the material sought would be inadmissible at trial is in turn governed by Rule 403 of the West Virginia Rules of Evidence. Such determinations are usually left to the discretion of the trial court.

2. Time limits for filing appeals.

An appeal to the state Supreme Court must be filed within four months after the challenged order was issued by the circuit court.

D. Budgets.

Generally, final versions of budgets of West Virginia governmental entities should be disclosed upon receipt of a FOIA request. It is possible that government bodies may claim that proposed budgets fall within exemption 8 of the FOIA, §29B-1-4(a)(8). That exemption relates to internal predecisional information. See Daily Gazette v. W. Va. Development Office, 198 W.Va. 563, 482 S.E.2d 180 (1996).

D. What constitutes a meeting subject to the law.

What constitutes a meeting was extensively addressed by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in McComas v. Fayette County Board of Education, 197 W. Va. 88, 475 S.E.2d 280 (1996). In that case, persons opposed to a county plan for school consolidations challenged a gathering of four of the five members of the county board of education.

Open Meetings

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