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§6-9A-7. Violation of article; criminal penalties; attorney fees and expenses in civil actions.

(a) Any person who is a member of a public or governmental body required to conduct open meetings in compliance with the provisions of this article and who willfully and knowingly violates the provisions of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $500: Provided, That a person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $1,000.

(b) A public agency whose governing body is adjudged in a civil action to have conducted a meeting in violation of the provisions of this article may be liable to a prevailing party for fees and other expenses incurred by that party in connection with litigating the issue of whether the governing body acted in violation of this article, unless the court finds that the position of the public agency was substantially justified or that special circumstances make an award of fees and other expenses unjust.

(c) Where the court, upon denying the relief sought by the complaining person in the action, finds that the action was frivolous or commenced with the primary intent of harassing the governing body or any member thereof or, in the absence of good faith, of delaying any meetings or decisions of the governing body, the court may require the complaining person to pay the governing body's necessary attorney fees and expenses.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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