West Virginia

1. Does the law provide expedited procedure for reviewing request to attend upcoming meetings?

The Open Meetings Act does not provide for any particular expedited procedure for reviewing a request to attend upcoming meetings, although it does authorize the issuance of an injunction to enforce the statute's provisions. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6. Any citizen of the state may bring an action in circuit court under the statute. Ordinarily no bond will be required unless it appears to the court that the petition was filed solely to harass or delay the governing body.

A. In general

Overview

West Virginia

E. Categories of meetings subject to the law.

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

2. Deposit of security

West Virginia law does not require that the subpoenaing party deposit any security in order to procure the testimony or materials sought from the reporter. For a deposition or in-court testimony, Rule 45(b)(1) of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a subpoenaing party must tender "fees for one days attendance and the mileage allowed by law" if the subpoenaed party so demands. If request for such payment is made, but the payment is not presented, the subpoena is ineffective.

(2). Do subsequent steps need to be in writing?

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

1. Do text messages and/or instant messages constitute a record?

There have been no court decisions indicating whether text messages and/or instant messages constitute a “public record” under West Virginia FOIA. However, depending on the specific circumstances, the holding of Associated Press v. Canterbury, supra. is likely to be instructive insofar as the Court in Associated Press. In that case, the Court recognized that e-mail communications fall within the scope of “writings” covered by the West Virginia FOIA. Text and instant messages are likely to be viewed in the same light.

C. Court review of administrative decision.

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

(1). Time limit for giving notice.

The governing bodies of the executive branch of the state in the event of an emergency requiring immediate official action "may file an emergency meeting notice at any time prior to the meeting." W. Va. Code §  6-9A-3. The time limit for giving notice of an emergency meeting is not stated with regard to other public bodies, which must promulgate their own notice rules. Id.

c. Consequences of refusing

West Virginia courts have not addressed the consequences of a reporter who refuses to consent to an in camera review of requested material. Pragmatically speaking, however, if an interlocutory appeal from an order mandating an in camera review is taken, acceptance of a Petition for Writ of prohibition by the state Supreme Court effectively operates to stay the order.