West Virginia

b. Mandatory or discretionary closure.

The nine specific exceptions of the Open Meetings Act merely authorize a closed session at the discretion of the governing body; a majority vote is required to invoke the provisions permitting executive sessions. Note that in the case of the five exemptions directed toward protecting individual privacy, the individual involved may demand a public meeting.

2. Voting results.

While there are no cases construing FOIA in the context of voting results, such records have been routinely made available to the public upon request.

B. Whose records are and are not subject to the act?

The Freedom of Information Act applies to every branch of government, and no agency is entirely exempt from its provisions. The Act applies to every "public body," and that term is defined broadly:

a. Definition.

An emergency meeting is defined simply as a meeting required to be held because "immediate official action" is required.

2. To whom is an appeal directed?

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

J. Litigation; pending litigation or other attorney-client privileges.

The Open Meetings Act does not specifically exempt discussions of pending litigation, or any other attorney-client communications, from its scope. In the 1999 amendments, the following provisions were added:

1. Contact other party first

If a subpoena is issued during the discovery phase of a civil case, it is governed by Rule 26(c) of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure. That Rule requires a party seeking a protective order, i.e., an order that the discovery sought by the subpoenaing party not be allowed, must "confer with other affected parties in an effort to resolve the dispute without court action[.]" Before a motion is filed to stop or quash a discovery subpoena, the party seeking to stop the subpoena must certify to the court that a good faith effort to confer has been made.