West Virginia

Open Records

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

B. Must a commenter give notice of intentions to comment?

As noted above, a governing body may require those persons who wish to speak to register no more than fifteen minutes prior to the start of a scheduled meeting.

9. Litigation expenses.

In the most significant amendment to the Freedom of Information Act since its enactment, the 1992 legislature provided that "[a]ny person who is denied access to public records requested pursuant to this article and who successfully brings a suit filed pursuant to [the FOIA] shall be entitled to recover his or her attorney fees and court costs from the public body that denied him or her access to the records." W. Va. Code § 29B-1-7.

1. Civil contempt

In West Virginia, there is very little, if any history of reporters being fined or jailed for failure to comply with a subpoena. There is no statute or caselaw specifically addressing contempt proceedings where a reporter refuses to comply with a subpoena. Generally speaking however, although Rules 11, 16, and 37 of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure do not formally require any particular procedure, before issuing a contempt sanction, a court must ensure it has an adequate foundation either pursuant to the rules or by virtue of its inherent powers to exercise its authority.

5. Expense reports.

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

5. Multi-state or regional bodies.

Multistate or regional bodies, such as planning authorities, usually will be "created by state or local authority or . . . primarily funded by the state or local authority" and thus will be subject to the FOIA. Alternatively, the statute's provision of coverage for any "board, department, commission, council or agency" of any state or local governmental unit should include these bodies.

X. Special Proceedings

Overview

West Virginia

A. Adjudications by administrative bodies.

Adjudicatory hearings by state or municipal bodies fall within the Open Meeting Act definition of "meeting." However, in defining the word "meeting," the Legislature excepted "any meeting for the purpose of making an adjudicatory decision in any quasi-judicial, administrative or court of claims proceeding." W. Va. Code §  6-9A-2(6). The exemption thus exempts meetings of such bodies in which the members discuss among themselves decisions that they must make in the course of an adjudication.