West Virginia

13. Emergency medical services records.

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

2. Disciplinary records.

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

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.

M. Patients; discussions on individual patients.

The Open Meetings Act permits closed sessions to discuss the "physical or mental health of any person, unless such person requests an open meeting." (W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4(b)(5)). Moreover, a number of specific statutes, discussed in the Freedom of Information Act section of this outline, provide for confidentiality for mental health, hospital and nursing home records concerning individual patients.

1. To whom is the appeal made?

Appeals are made from the circuit court level directly to the state Supreme Court. There is no intermediate court of appeals in West Virginia. Although it unlikely that a reporter subpoena would be issued in a magistrate court proceeding in West Virginia, appeals from Magistrate Court go first to the circuit court, and then to the state Supreme Court, with the circuit court acting as an intermediate appellate court.

b. What effect does absence of a quorum have?

The absence of a quorum at a meeting has the effect of preventing the public agency from either deliberating toward or making a decision, but does not affect whether the provisions of the Open Meetings Act apply.

B. Absolute or qualified privilege

The reporters' privilege is a qualified one in West Virginia. However, West Virginia treats all information acquired by the reporter in the news-gathering process in the same, qualified manner. Thus, whether the information sought from a reporter is the identity of a confidential source, or unpublished, non-confidential notes or observations, the qualified privilege is the same. Unfortunately, although the qualified protection afforded such information in civil cases is quite good, there is at present no absolute privilege in West Virginia for confidential source identities.

2. Marriage & divorce.

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

c. Other.

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