West Virginia

A. Shield law statute

West Virginia has no statutory "shield" law. This likely is because there is a general acceptance of the state Supreme Court's articulation of the qualified reporter's privilege in Hudok v. Henry. In Hudok, the state Supreme Court explained the qualified privilege as follows:

3. Applications.

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

3. To set aside decision.

Section 3 of the Open Meetings Act specifically authorizes a court of competent jurisdiction to "invalidate any action taken at any meeting for which notice did not comply with the requirements of this section. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-3. Section 6 seems to broaden the court's authority to annul a decision for non-compliance with provisions other than the notice requirements.

K. On-line dissemination.

When requested records are transferred to FOIA requesters by e-mail or are downloaded by requesters from a government website, no fees should be assessed as the government body would have incurred no “actual cost of reproduction.”

D. The source's rights and interests

West Virginia courts have not had occasion to address the circumstance where a source seeks to intervene anonymously to halt disclosure of their identity.

1. State.

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

I. Defamation actions

In West Virginia, there have been no cases addressing penalties for noncompliance in a libel case. From the Hudok case, it is known that a qualified privilege does exist in West Virginia, even in libel cases. Nevertheless, the privilege is not as strong as in other civil claims. Stated another way, the burden a litigant must meet to breach the reporter's privilege is less in cases where defamation or libel is alleged. Although the Hudok court did not delineate the boundaries of the privilege in the defamation context, it did cite to Zerilli v.

10. Police techniques.

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

2. Will the court give priority to the pleading?

There is no provision directing the court to give priority to a citizen's petition challenging a public agency's actions under the Open Meetings Act. However, if the petition seeks to enjoin an imminent violation of the statute, an expedited hearing will be available.

K. Gun permits.

West Virginia requires those who desire to carry concealed weapons to obtain a license. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4. The license application must be made to the county sheriff. If the license is granted after an investigation, the County Sheriff is required to forward to the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police a certified copy of the approved application. The Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police is required to maintain a register of all persons who have been issues concealed weapons licenses. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4.