In a court action, the court will consider all issues raised by the pleadings, including denial of access to the records, the reasonableness of any fees, delays in obtaining records. See Techniscan Corp. v. Passaic Valley Water Comm’n, supra. In an action before the Government Records Council, the council may only consider claims arising under OPRA.
In accordance with a greater weight of the evidence standard, the Court will generally determine whether the public body has violated the Act by either failing to timely respond to the request or improperly withholding records which are not exempted by the Act. See RF&P Corp. v. Little, 247 Va. 309, 440 S.E.2d 908(1994)(standard of proof). The public body bears the burden to prove its entitlement to an exception by a preponderance of the evidence. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3713(E).
The FOIA confers on the court "jurisdiction to enjoin the custodian or public body from withholding records and to order the production of any records improperly withheld from the person seeking disclosure." W. Va. Code § 29B-1-5(2). The statute also authorizes the court to enter a declaratory judgment that establishes patterns for future access.