West Virginia

1. Does e-mail constitute a record?

Email has been held to be a “writing” that must be disclosed upon a FOIA request if it is related to the conduct of the public’s business and is prepared, owned and retained by a public body, W.Va. Code §  29B-1-2 (4). See, Associated Press v. Canterbury, 688 S.E.2d 317 (W.Va. 2009) (“definition of a “writing” contained in FOIA includes an e-mail communication”).

c. Minutes.

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

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.

B. Whose privilege is it?

No case or statute in West Virginia addresses whether the privilege belongs to the source, the reporter, or both, and no case or statute addresses whether the privilege belongs to the reporter, the employer, or both. On the other hand, both reporters and their employers (i.e., media organizations) have successfully asserted the privilege in West Virginia.

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.

1. Interviews for public employment.

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

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).

G. Trial records


West Virginia