West Virginia

L. Hospital reports.

"An individual's medical records are classically a private interest," Child Protection Group v. Cline, 350 S.E.2d at 545, and Exemption 2 of the FOIA specifically protects "[i]nformation of a personal nature such as that kept in a personal, medical or similar file, if the public disclosure thereof would constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy, unless the public interest by clear and convincing evidence requires disclosure in the particular instance." The balancing test required by this exemption is discussed at length above. (W. Va.

1. Deliberations closed, but not fact-finding.

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

a. Records of the executives themselves.

Where a document involves "personal" conduct in addition to "official" conduct of the public body, it is possible that the "invasion of privacy" exemption set forth in W.Va.Code §  29B-1-4(2) may apply. If that exemption were held to apply, the court would use a balancing test to determine whether and in what circumstances such information may be disclosed. See, Daily Gazette v. Withrow, 177 W. Va. 110, 166; 350 S.E.2d 738, 744 (1986), Child Protection Group v. Cline, 177 W. Va. 29, 350 S.E.2d 541 (W.Va.1986); Hechler v.

1. Executive branch agencies.

Since the Open Meetings Act applies only to proceedings of the "governing body" of a public agency, defined as entities with two or more members, individual executives such as a governor or mayor are not covered by the statute. This conclusion simply means a governor can meet with his staff without being required to open such a meeting to the public. However, where the mayor is acting in connection with a city council meeting, he becomes part of a public agency and the meeting would be covered by the Open Meetings Act.

e. News organization / medium

In West Virginia, the reporter's privilege is not distinguished in its application to different types of media (i.e., newspaper, magazine, broadcast outlet, or Internet Web site). Beyond the Hudok court's citation to the Von Bulow case and the Von Bulow court's elaboration on the general criteria used to determine whether one is a member of the class entitled to claim the reporter's privilege, there is no law or statute that formally defines the individuals or entities who are entitled to assert the reporters' privilege.

O. Prison, parole and probation reports.

The FOIA has no specific exemption for prison, parole and probation reports. Therefore, unless the particular materials sought fall with the exemptions discussed above for personal information or law enforcement records, they would be available for public inspection.

N. Personnel matters.

The statute contains an exceptionally broad exemption for discussions of personnel matters, including "[t]he appointment, employment, retirement, promotion, transfer, demotion, disciplining, resignation, discharge, dismissal or compensation of any public officer or employee, or other personnel matters, or for the purpose of conducting a hearing on a complaint against a public officer or employee." (W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4(2)).

E. Discovery materials


West Virginia

2. Particular fee specifications or provisions.

The FOIA contains no provisions for separate charges for searches, duplication, computer access or printouts, microfiche, or non-print audio or audio-visual records. Since the statute only authorizes charges for the cost of "reproduction," additional "search" charges generally should be prohibited except when expressly authorized by another statute.  An exception to the general rule is found in W. Va.