West Virginia

C. Testimony vs. affidavits

Although the rules in West Virginia do not specify whether a sworn affidavit may take the place of in-court testimony, litigants have been known to accept such affidavits in return for dropping the personal appearance requirement of the subpoena, especially when the subpoena was issued simply confirm that an article was true and accurate as published. Thus, it usually is helpful to inquire of the subpoenaing party's counsel whether they will accept an affidavit in lieu of a personal appearance, as oftentimes such an offer will be accepted.

1. Any sessions regarding collective bargaining.

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

D. What constitutes a meeting subject to the law.

What constitutes a meeting was extensively addressed by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in McComas v. Fayette County Board of Education, 197 W. Va. 88, 475 S.E.2d 280 (1996). In that case, persons opposed to a county plan for school consolidations challenged a gathering of four of the five members of the county board of education.

4. Other.

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


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

5. Addressing mootness questions

West Virginia courts have not had occasion to address "mootness" as an issue when a trial or grand jury session for which a reporter was subpoenaed has concluded.

4. For ruling on future meetings.

Courts can grant prospective relief enjoining a governing body of a public agency from proceeding as it has in the past and ordering the public agency to conduct its future meetings in conformity with the Open Meetings Act. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6.

3. Grand jury

Although there are no West Virginia cases directly on point addressing a reporter's privilege in the grand jury context, nevertheless, the Hudok court acknowledged that a reporter's privilege "will yield in proceedings before a grand jury where the reporter has personal knowledge or is aware of confidential sources that bear on the criminal investigation[.]" The Hudok court cited with approval the United States Supreme Court's decision in Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 92 S.Ct.

(1). Time limit for giving notice.

The Open Meetings Act requires that, except in emergencies, state executive agencies must give notice of their meetings "at least five days prior to the date of the meeting":

c. Plea for quick response.

The Freedom of Information Act requires a response to all requests within five working days, and the request should ask that this time limit be met. If there is a particularly urgent need for the records, this should be explained and an expedited response requested.