West Virginia

3. Transactions.

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

b. Invalidate the decision.

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

A. Shield law statute

West Virginia has no statutory "shield" law. This likely is because there is a general acceptance of the state Supreme Court's articulation of the qualified reporter's privilege in Hudok v. Henry. In Hudok, the state Supreme Court explained the qualified privilege as follows:

1. Character of exemptions.

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

b. E-mail.

There have been no reported meetings conducted via computer, whether by way of an online chat or through e-mail.

D. The source's rights and interests

West Virginia courts have not had occasion to address the circumstance where a source seeks to intervene anonymously to halt disclosure of their identity.

2. Does the law cover oral requests?

The FOIA requires a denial of a request for access to records to be in writing, but the request itself may be either oral or written. However, as Professor Neely notes, written requests often have practical advantages:

For evidentiary purposes a written request would prove useful in subsequent judicial review proceedings, if an oral request is denied or if refusal is anticipated at the outset. Additionally, a written request will establish precisely what is being requested for purposes of deliberation within the public body.

C. Can a public body limit comment?

A governing body "may make and enforce reasonable rules for attendance and presentation at any meeting," but this power is limited to "any meeting where there is not enough room for all members of the public who wish to attend." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-3.

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.