West Virginia

4. Public matter message on private hardware.

There are no cases dealing with private matters discussed in text or instant messages on government hardware. It is possible, however, that the West Virginia Court may require disclosure upon a finding that private matter text or instant messages have been used as a ruse to conduct public business while avoiding FOIA disclosure requirements.

4. Contents of appeal letter.

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


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

c. Consequences of refusing

West Virginia courts have not addressed the consequences of a reporter who refuses to consent to an in camera review of requested material. Pragmatically speaking, however, if an interlocutory appeal from an order mandating an in camera review is taken, acceptance of a Petition for Writ of prohibition by the state Supreme Court effectively operates to stay the order.

(1). Information required.

The Act's 1999 amendments appear to exempt minutes of executive sessions from public disclosure; the amendment appears to presume that such minutes will be prepared. Provision is made for the later disclosure of that portion of executive session minutes when they contain reference to confidential settlement and other matters that are later rendered non-confidential by subsequent action.

C. Bank records.

Most bank records — and particularly "[i]nformation contained in or related to examination, operating or condition reports prepared by, or on behalf of, or for the use of any" banking regulatory agency — are exempt from disclosure under Exemption 7 of the FOIA, as well as the specific statutes discussed above.

7. What court.

Suits seeking access to records under the Freedom of Information Act ordinarily must be brought "in the circuit court in the county where the public record is kept." W. Va. Code § 29B-1-3(4).


There have been several important court decisions interpreting West Virginia's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) since the Fifth Edition of this guide was published in 2006 and three exemptions to the Act added by amendment. The Open Governmental Proceedings Act (called "the Sunshine Law" in West Virginia, but referred to herein as the Open Meetings Act) has not been amended since 1999.

The West Virginia Freedom of Information Act begins with an emphatic declaration that the people of the state demand an open government:

3. Applications.

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