West Virginia

V. PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING RECORDS

This section addresses the most frequently asked question under the Freedom of Information Act: "How do I file an FOIA request?"

a. Bodies receiving public funds or benefits.

The Freedom of Information Act applies to "any other body . . . which is primarily funded by [a] state or local authority." In 4-H Road Community Association v. W. Va. University Foundation, 182 W. Va.

1. Interviews for public employment.

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

A. Burden, standard of proof

In civil and administrative proceedings, a subpoenaing party may overcome the qualified reporter's privilege only if it can make "a clear and specific showing that the information is highly material and relevant, necessary or critical to the maintenance of the claim, and not obtainable from other available sources." State ex rel. Hudok v. Henry, supra. In criminal proceedings, a criminal defendant must make a similar showing, "with particularity," as it relates to his theory or theories of defense, meaning, he must explain "what information he/she expects the media material to contain.

(6). Penalties and remedies for failure to give adequate notice.

Although the Open Meetings Act does not spell out the notice requirements for most public bodies, it does include a very specific penalty for the failure to provide adequate notice in accordance with the statute. Where an "adversely affected party" files a petition challenging the public agency's action, any court of competent jurisdiction "may invalidate any action taken at any meeting for which notice did not comply" with the notice requirements of the Act. W. Va. Code §  6-9A-3.

2. Informal telephone inquiry as to status.

Unless the agency has clearly indicated its intention to refuse the request, however, an informal telephone inquiry regarding the status of the request is advisable if the response is not received within the time limit. If the initial request was oral, or was made to someone other than the official "custodian" of the records, a written inquiry directed to the custodian — including a reminder that you will seek reimbursement for attorneys' fees if the agency's failure to respond necessitates legal action — would be preferable.

4. Requirements or prohibitions regarding advance payment.

The Freedom of Information Act neither requires nor specifically prohibits the advance payment of fees.

E. Webcasting

Overview

West Virginia