Court costs are available but are normally nominal. The statute does not provide for awards of attorneys' fees and they are also not available under a private attorney general theory. See Pearson v. Board of Health of Chicopee, 402 Mass. 797, 525 N.E.2d 400 (1988). However, if record custodian's defenses are insubstantial or frivolous, court has authority to award attorneys' fees. G.L. c. 231 § 6F. Pearson, supra.
Section 552.323(a) provides that in any suit brought under Sections 552.321 or 552.3215 "the court shall assess costs of litigation and reasonable attorney fees incurred by a plaintiff or defendant who substantially prevails," except that costs and fees may not be assessed if the court finds that the governmental body acted in reasonable reliance on a judgment or an order of a court, the published opinion of an appellate court, or a written decision of the Attorney General. Id.
In an action brought under Section 552.324, "the court may assess costs of litigation and reasonable attorney's fees." In exercising its discretion, "the court shall consider whether the conduct of the officer for public information of the governmental body had a reasonable basis in law and whether the litigation was brought in good faith." Id.
Costs assessed against a governmental body by the court run against the governmental body, not an individual office holder. McNamara v. Fulks, 855 S.W.2d 782, 786 (Tex. App.—El Paso 1993, no writ).
If the requester prevails in whole or in substantial part, the court shall in addition award reasonable attorney fees and other actual costs to the plaintiff. Wis. Stat. § 19.37(2); WTMJ Inc. v. Sullivan, 204 Wis. 2d 452, 458, 555 N.W.2d 140, 143 (Wis. Ct. App. 1996). But where the party is an attorney who represents him or herself no fees may be awarded. State ex rel. Young v. Shaw, 165 Wis. 2d 276, 477 N.W.2d 340 (Wis. Ct. App. 1991).