Compensatory damages are the only remedy recoverable under the FTCA. Fitch
v. U.S., 513 F.2d 1013 (6th Cir. 1975). The FTCA does not allow courts to issue
injunctions against the federal government. Moon v. Takisaki, 501 F.2d 389 (9
Cir. 1974). Punitive damages are expressly forbidden, even if they are allowed
under state law. 28 U.S.C. § 2674.
Sovereign immunity bars an award of attorney fees against the federal
government unless expressly authorized by statute. Since the FTCA does not
expressly authorize attorney fees, they are not recoverable against the federal
government under the FTCA. Joe v. U.S., 772 F.2d 1535 (11
th Cir. 1985).
Because no separate award of attorney fees may be awarded against the
federal government, counsel will take payment from the awarded
compensatory damages. However, the FTCA limits the amount which may be
claimed by counsel from the compensatory damages award. No attorney may
receive more than 25% of any compensatory damages or settlement. 28
U.S.C. § 2678.
The FTCA itself does not place a cap on the amount of damages recoverable
against the federal government. However, the government’s liability is limited
in the same way that a private party would be limited under the relevant state
law. Therefore, the United States is able to take advantage of any state
damage caps on awards for medical malpractice. Carter v. U.S., 982 F.2d 1141
(7th Cir. 1992).