West Virginia

(3). Where posted.

There is no requirement for posting the notice of an executive session. Under the statute, the presiding officer simply can give notice orally during the course of the meeting.

6. Material is not cumulative

A discovery request may be denied where the breadth of the information sought would result in the production of material so cumulative as to be inadmissible at trial. State Farm v. Stephens, 188 W.Va. 622, 425 S.E.2d 577 (1992). Whether or not the cumulativeness of the material sought would be inadmissible at trial is in turn governed by Rule 403 of the West Virginia Rules of Evidence. Such determinations are usually left to the discretion of the trial court.

b. Fees for records.

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

b. State attorney general.

The Open Meetings Act does not provide for any appeal to the state Attorney General, and that office generally will issue a written opinion only upon the request of state department heads, prosecuting attorneys, or certain other public officials. In the case of an impending egregious violation of the Open Meetings Act, it might be possible to obtain an informal ruling from the Attorney General's office or from the public agency's other legal advisor, thereby averting such action.

The 1999 amendments added a new subsection 12 to W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4 that provides:

L. Hospital reports.

"An individual's medical records are classically a private interest," Child Protection Group v. Cline, 350 S.E.2d at 545, and Exemption 2 of the FOIA specifically protects "[i]nformation of a personal nature such as that kept in a personal, medical or similar file, if the public disclosure thereof would constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy, unless the public interest by clear and convincing evidence requires disclosure in the particular instance." The balancing test required by this exemption is discussed at length above. (W. Va.

a. Records of the executives themselves.

Where a document involves "personal" conduct in addition to "official" conduct of the public body, it is possible that the "invasion of privacy" exemption set forth in W.Va.Code §  29B-1-4(2) may apply. If that exemption were held to apply, the court would use a balancing test to determine whether and in what circumstances such information may be disclosed. See, Daily Gazette v. Withrow, 177 W. Va. 110, 166; 350 S.E.2d 738, 744 (1986), Child Protection Group v. Cline, 177 W. Va. 29, 350 S.E.2d 541 (W.Va.1986); Hechler v.

1. Civil contempt

In West Virginia, there is very little, if any history of reporters being fined or jailed for failure to comply with a subpoena. There is no statute or caselaw specifically addressing contempt proceedings where a reporter refuses to comply with a subpoena. Generally speaking however, although Rules 11, 16, and 37 of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure do not formally require any particular procedure, before issuing a contempt sanction, a court must ensure it has an adequate foundation either pursuant to the rules or by virtue of its inherent powers to exercise its authority.

3. Contact of interested amici.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has a substantial interest in reporters' rights of access to government information and frequently files friend-of-the-court briefs for open records issues when they are being considered at the highest appeal level in the state. Other news organizations and associations within the state also may want to support your position by filing amicus briefs, since any decision in your case will affect them all.

7. What court.

A petition under the Open Meetings Act must be filed in "the circuit court in the county where the public agency regularly meets." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6. In extraordinary cases, a petition could be filed in the state Supreme Court, seeking a writ of mandamus or prohibition. See the preceding section, on the Freedom of Information Act, for a more detailed discussion of the availability of this remedy.