WVa Supreme Court Rules Personal Emails Not Subject to FOIA Requests
Updated From: March 5, 2009
Charleston, West Virgina On Thursday, November 12, 2009, the West Virginia Supreme Court finally delivered its ruling in The Associated Press v. Canterbury. In a 4-1 decision, the court established that private communication to and from government employees do not qualify as a public record. This important decision comes at the same time that the Wisconsin Supreme Court is holding hearings in a similar case.
February 16, 2010
A bill introduced on February 15 would overturn the courts decision regarding emails sent and received by public officials. The text of House Bill 4500 will add an additional definition of "public records" which will include all records, "prepared or received by a public body, the content or context of which, judged either by its content or context relates to the conduct of the public's business." 
The Supreme court referenced a number of established decisions from other states that determined that private communication by public employees did not qualify as public records. Citing cases from Arizona, Colorado, FLorida and Tennessee which established separations between public records and private personal communications. The court also threw out the Associated Presses contention that the national interest in the emails between Chief Justice Elliot "Spike" Maynard and Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship constituted a justification for altering the states open records law. Justice Margaret Workman dissented from the opinion. 
WVa Supreme Court agrees to hear e-mail FOIA case
Updated From: March 5, 2009 "The West Virginia Supreme Court unanimously agreed Thursday to consider The Associated Press' appeal of a ruling on whether the justices' e-mails are subject to the state's Freedom of Information Act.
The AP is appealing a Kanawha County Circuit Court ruling that released just five of 13 e-mails between former Chief Justice Elliot "Spike" Maynard and Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship."
- The West Virginia Record, "Justices say Maynard's e-mails shouldn't have been public"
- Ruling of the Court
- Daily Press, WVa Supreme Court agrees to hear e-mail FOIA case, March 5, 2009
- The Record, "Justices hear case about Maynard-Blankenship e-mails " update on the case
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- ↑ Phillyburbs.com, "Recent W.Va. FOIA ruling prompts legislation "
- ↑ West Virginia House Bill 4500
- ↑ The West Virginia Record, "Justices say Maynard's e-mails shouldn't have been public"