Courts

Webster v. Filler-Corn

District court judge imposes civil penalties on Speaker of the House for her inaccurate response to a FOIA request that a requested record did not exist.

Gent v. Adams

Wise County general district court judge rules Town of Pound gave adequate notice of its meeting. Notice in the newspaper isn't required, and notice on the website wasn't required because a .com website isn't an "official government website." Judge says a .gov domain is required.

Sawyers v. Prince William County School Board

Direct messages sent by school superintendent through Twitter's direct message platform are "correspondence" that can be withheld under the "working papers and correspondence" exemption of FOIA, 2.2-3705.7(2).

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.

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