PARKER, District Judge.
In this Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
case the plaintiff, a producer for a public television station, sought to obtain the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concerning certain statements made by Ruth and David Greenglass during the investigation of the Rosenberg espionage case.
Plaintiff's original request encompassed the entire Rosenberg file and was submitted to the FBI by letter dated July 20, 1973. Plaintiff subsequently submitted a more narrow request for specific reports and statements taken from the Greenglasses by letter dated October 1, 1973. When the request was denied on the basis of the seventh exemption of investigatory files,
plaintiff's employer filed an appeal, but the agency denial was affirmed by the Attorney General's office. Almost a year later, plaintiff requested reconsideration of the earlier decision, by letter dated August 8, 1974. The Attorney General's office responded that the decision was final.
On June 16, 1975, plaintiff filed another administrative appeal, covering different portions of the Rosenberg file, and on June 19, 1975, filed this lawsuit, seeking the documents which had already been twice denied by the Justice Department. Shortly thereafter, on August 28, 1975, the FBI forwarded copies of the documents at issue to plaintiff's counsel.
At a recent status call held May 25, 1976, plaintiff's counsel informed the Court that he was satisfied with the documents produced, and that the only outstanding issue was the question of counsel fees and costs. Counsel then filed a motion for such fees on May 28, 1976, with accompanying memorandum, requesting compensation of $1,200.00 for 24 hours of work at the rate of $50.00 per hour plus $48.74 for expenses. The government responded with a motion to dismiss for mootness and a memorandum opposing the allowance of any fees, asserting that plaintiff has failed to meet the statutory criteria, or in the alternative that the $1,200.00 requested is excessive.
The recent amendments to the FOIA, which became effective on February 19, 1975, provide that counsel fees are available under the following circumstances:
The court may assess against the United States reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred in any case under this section in which the complainant has substantially prevailed.