West Virginia

B. Separation orders

West Virginia case law and statutes do not address separation orders issued against reporters who are both trying to cover the trial and are on a witness list. Anecdotally, this problem has occurred in federal cases in West Virginia, although reporters have resolved the issue by informally persuading the party who named them to remove them from the list.

2. Description of each exemption.

The Open Meetings Act, as amended in 1999, specifically exempts twelve categories of information from its provisions. These exceptions, which are stated in much broader language than the exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act, permit public bodies to meet in closed executive session to discuss the following items:

G. Reporter's personal observations

In general, the law in West Virginia does not differ in its treatment of the privilege on the basis of whether the information was obtained by the reporter as an eyewitness. However, it should be remembered that the likelihood of breaching the privilege is much higher if the party issuing the subpoena can show the reporter is an eyewitness to crucial information, and the reporter is the only source of that crucial information the party is seeking. In this regard, the Hudok court explained:

B. What governments are subject to the law?

All levels of government, ranging from a city council to the State Legislature, fall within the general term "public body" used in the Act. The requirements of the statute apply to "this state or any political subdivision." W. Va. Code §  6-9A-2(6). Courts and family law masters are specifically excluded.

9. Confidential informants.

(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.

A. In general


West Virginia

K. Negotiations and collective bargaining of public employees.

There is no exemption for collective bargaining negotiations or discussions; this is not surprising because public employees in West Virginia are not authorized to engage in collective bargaining.