West Virginia

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.

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

The Open Meetings Act does not provide any penalties for failing to follow the rules set out for going into executive session. The Act does provide that the public agency cannot make any decision in executive session; therefore any decision reached in such a closed meeting would be voidable.

5. Pleading format.

The complaint need only contain a "short and plain" statement of your claim. If it seeks injunctive relief, it must be verified. Describe the contents of the request, and state when and to whom the request was made. Recount the reasons (if any) given for its denial. Invoke the FOIA, as well as the state constitution and common law, if applicable, as the legal basis for your claim. If either your request or the denial is in writing, attach a copy to the complaint. The most important thing is to clearly identify the information to which you were denied access.

2. Disciplinary records.

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

3. To set aside decision.

Section 3 of the Open Meetings Act specifically authorizes a court of competent jurisdiction to "invalidate any action taken at any meeting for which notice did not comply with the requirements of this section. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-3. Section 6 seems to broaden the court's authority to annul a decision for non-compliance with provisions other than the notice requirements.

3. Courts.

Court records are open to public inspection under the Freedom of Information Act. Associated Press v. Canterbury, 224 W.Va. 708, 688 S.E.2d 317 (2009). Access to court records is also guaranteed by the open courts provision of the state constitution (W. Va. Constitution, Article III, §  17) (see Daily Gazette v. W. Va. State Bar, 326 S.E.2d 705, Syllabus pt. 4) and by W. Va. Code §  51-4-2 (1981), which the Supreme Court applied in Richardson v. Town of Kimball, supra.

A. Generally

The protection afforded reporters in West Virginia is good and fairly strong in civil cases, although the privilege is not absolute. As explained by the state Supreme Court in Hudok v.

A. Who may attend?

Any member of the public may attend a meeting subject to the Open Meetings Act.