West Virginia

A. In general

Overview

West Virginia

c. Minutes.

(This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

2. Material unavailable from other sources

The requested material must not be obtainable from other available sources. State ex rel. Charleston Mail Ass'n v. Ranson, and State ex rel. Hudok v. Henry. The court in State ex rel. Hudok v. Henry, supra, recognized there may be a situation where a newsperson is the only individual with credible evidence bearing upon an important issue in a civil case.

3. Is delay recognized as a denial for appeal purposes?

The FOIA does not specify the consequences of a public body's failure to respond within the five-day limit. The courts routinely have treated such lack of response, for appeal purposes, as a denial of the request.

I. How are fees for electronic records asessed?

Fees for electronic record request should be consistent with the fees that may be charged for reproducing records in a paper format. Thus, the limit on fees charged by public bodies should be the “actual cost of reproduction” of records in an electronic format. If the record is transmitted to the requester on a computer readable DVD or CD the charge should be no more than the cost of that medium to the government body.

7. What court.

A petition under the Open Meetings Act must be filed in "the circuit court in the county where the public agency regularly meets." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6. In extraordinary cases, a petition could be filed in the state Supreme Court, seeking a writ of mandamus or prohibition. See the preceding section, on the Freedom of Information Act, for a more detailed discussion of the availability of this remedy.

a. Definition.

An executive session is "any meeting or part of a meeting of a governing body which is closed to the public." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-2(2). The Act specifies twelve topics that may be considered in such a closed session, and these are discussed later in this outline. No decision may be made in an executive session. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4 (a).

d. Other elements

There is no West Virginia caselaw or statute addressing whether a journalist may be deemed to have waived the privilege. Because the privilege is constitutional in nature, it is likely the privilege may never be deemed to have been waived.

2. Priority.

The FOIA confers priority on cases involving the denial of access to public records: "Except as to causes the court considers of greater importance, proceedings arising under [the FOIA] shall be assigned for hearing and trial at the earliest practicable date." W. Va. Code §  29B-1-5(3). Such a "priority" however, is left to the discretion of the trial court, which may consider other matters to be of greater importance.