West Virginia

I. Defamation actions

In West Virginia, there have been no cases addressing penalties for noncompliance in a libel case. From the Hudok case, it is known that a qualified privilege does exist in West Virginia, even in libel cases. Nevertheless, the privilege is not as strong as in other civil claims. Stated another way, the burden a litigant must meet to breach the reporter's privilege is less in cases where defamation or libel is alleged. Although the Hudok court did not delineate the boundaries of the privilege in the defamation context, it did cite to Zerilli v.

H. Computer software

There have been no court decisions or agency guidance indicating how online discussion board posts social media postings and messages are to be treated for purposes of FOIA analysis.

(1). Agency procedure for challenge.

(This section is blank. See the point above.)

(6). Penalties and remedies for failure to give adequate notice.

The penalties and remedies described above in reference to general notice requirements of the Open Meetings Act also apply to emergency meetings.

C. Criminal trials


West Virginia

b. Refuting the reasons for denial.

(This section is blank. See the point above.)

4. Judicial approval

In West Virginia, a lawyer may issue and sign a subpoena as an officer of the court. Rule 45(a)(3) of the W.Va.R.Civ.P. A judge or magistrate need not approve a subpoena before a party can serve it.

G. Collective bargaining records.

There is no exemption for collective bargain records. However, collective bargaining by public employees is unlawful in West Virginia.

5. Pleading format.

There is no established pleading format. The petition should contain a short and plain statement of the facts entitling the petitioner to relief and a description of the relief sought. If injunctive relief is sought, the petition must be verified, although generally no bond would be required. The form of the pleading will depend on the nature of the relief sought. It may be a petition for writ of mandamus, a writ of prohibition, a declaratory judgment action, or a complaint seeking injunctive relief.


The Freedom of Information Act's declaration of policy, which is quoted in the Foreword, is the only indication of the legislative intent underlying the statute. There is no recorded legislative history relating to either the statute's original enactment in 1977 or its subsequent amendments. However, the state Supreme Court of Appeals has quoted the FOIA policy declaration repeatedly in its opinions. Daily Gazette v. W. Va. Development Office, supra; Ogden Newspapers v. City of Charleston, 192 W. Va. 648, 453 S.E.2d 631 (1994).