The Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled against the awarding of attorney fees under the standards enunciated in the FOIA Amendments of 2007 for cases brought prior to that act coming into law. [Ed. note--when this case was first brought against the FBI, it was assigned to me and I believe I submitted a declaration in the case, however, I was not involved in its settlement nor the issues involved with the attorney fees as I had already left the FBI by that time.]
Prior to the 2007 FOIA Amendments, attorney fees in FOIA cases were only awarded when a requester actually received a court order siding with the requester on an issue in the case. The new law which became effective in 2008 allows for the awarding of attorney fees as long as the bringing of the law suit is the catalyst for something in the FOIA request that the agency had not previously done (i.e. release of records). The Federal District Court for the District of Columbia had been split on whether the new law was retroactive; this decision ends the division in the circuit.