West Virginia

S. Vital statistics.

Birth and death certificates are governed by W. Va. Code § 16-5-26, which provides that it is:

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:

E. Homeland Security Measures.

In 2003 the West Virginia Legislature amended FOIA by adding eight new exemptions related to homeland security and anti-terrorism planning. See, W. Va. Code § 29B-1-4(9) - (16). No judicial decisions have been reported which have involved any of the new exemptions. See supra., II A (2).

5. Other.

The Open Meetings Act provides a practical limitation on challenges made to bond issues. If notice of the meeting at which the bond issue was finally considered was given at least ten days prior to the meeting by a Class I legal advertisement in a qualified newspaper having general circulation in the geographical area, then the bond issue will not be rendered void in a challenge by a citizen. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6.

(1). Time limit for giving notice.

The Open Meetings Act requires that, except in emergencies, state executive agencies must give notice of their meetings "at least five days prior to the date of the meeting":

A. In general


West Virginia

c. Plea for quick response.

The Freedom of Information Act requires a response to all requests within five working days, and the request should ask that this time limit be met. If there is a particularly urgent need for the records, this should be explained and an expedited response requested.

2. Deposit of security

West Virginia law does not require that the subpoenaing party deposit any security in order to procure the testimony or materials sought from the reporter. For a deposition or in-court testimony, Rule 45(b)(1) of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a subpoenaing party must tender "fees for one days attendance and the mileage allowed by law" if the subpoenaed party so demands. If request for such payment is made, but the payment is not presented, the subpoena is ineffective.

5. Private matter message on private hardware.

There have been no court decisions indicating how private matter messages on private hardware should be treated. However, based upon the West Virginia Court’s holding in Associated Press v. Canterbury, supra. it is likely that records of discussion of private matters on private e-mail will fall outside the law’s disclosure requirements because they fail to fall within the definition of West Virginia FOIA’s definition of “public record.”

4. What issues will the court address?

In a judicial proceeding under the Open Meetings Act, the court will address any issue arising under the statute, including a request for an order in a particular pending meeting be open, establishing general rules concerning access to future meetings, and invalidating decisions made at illegal meetings. McComas v. Fayette County Board of Education, supra. The 1999 amendments create addition issues that a court may be called upon to address.