Courts

Hart v. Town of Onley

General district judge rules town did not violate FOIA's provisions on motions to go into closed meeting or for proper topics for closed-meeting discussion, specifically discipline of the mayor by the town council.

Townes v. State Board of Elections

The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled June 18, 2020, (among other issues) that a circuit court did not abuse its discretion by allowing the State Board of Elections to introduce multiple instances where two members of the Hopewell Electoral Board violated FOIA's meeting provisions. The petition SBE filed alleged violations on "at least three occasions," meaning that at trial they could offer evidence of those three plus others.

Cole v. Smyth County BOS

Supreme Court of VIrginia rules unanimously, May 28, 2020, that the Smyth County Board of Supervisors used an improper motion to go into closed session and talked about matters beyond the scope of the claimed exemption.

Harki v. Department of Corrections (2020)

A Norfolk Circuit Court Judge ruled April 15, 2020, that the Virginia Department of Corrections willfully and knowingly failed to provide a Virginian-Pilot reporter with documents he requested within the 5-day response time mandated by FOIA, nor did the VDOC ask for a 7-day extension. After repeated back and forth conversations between the reporter and the VDOC, the reporter's request was "reasonably specific," as required by FOIA, and the VDOC's attempt to argue otherwise is "disingenuous," the court wrote. Citing Hurst v. City of Norfolk, the court also ruled that even if VDOC had made a request for further specificity, that would not have tolled the 5-day response time limit.

Brown v. Tashman

Fairfax Circuit Court Judge David Oblon ruled April 21, 2020, that settlements under the infant settlement statute (§8.01-424(A)) cannot be sealed. The court left open the door for sealing when there is "credible, particularized evidence of the child's medical condition necessary to justify a complete sealing of the settlement terms."

Bragg v. BOS (Rappahannock County)

A Rappahannock County circuit judge ruled the board of supervisors there improperly closed a meeting to talk about an advertisement seeking a replacement for an outgoing county attorney as well as alternatives to the county attorney set-up. The topic was not "legal advice," nor did it fall under the personnel exemption for "prospective candidates for employment."

Transparent GMU v. George Mason, Supreme Court opinion

GMU Foundation not subject to Virginia FOIA and not a university agent, therefore university not responsible for accessing foundation's records, either.

Minke v. Page County district court

Minke v. Page County

Feb. 25, 2019

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Harrisonburg Division

Chief U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski

Bergano v. City of Virginia Beach

The Virginia Supreme Court unanimously ruled the City of Virginia Beach erred by redacting all entries on its bill from an outside law firm that was representing the city in an eminent domain case against a city dentist.

VITA v. Turner

Richmond Circuit Judge Designate William N. Alexander II entered an order Oct. 15, 2018, that (1) FOIA does not apply to "the judiciary, including the Executive Secretary"; (2) enforcement of FOIA against the judiciary and the OES is "barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which has not been waived."; and (3) separation of powers bars enforcement of FOIA against the judiciary and the OES.

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