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  • Federal Tort Claims Settlement

  • Federal Tort Claims Settlement

    Settlement of Federal Tort Claims Act Suits

    United States Attorneys responsible for the defense of FTCA or other tort litigation (e.g., Suits in Admiralty Act or Vessels Act) are currently delegated $1,000,000 in settlement authority, subject to the limitations set forth in Civil Division Directive No. 14-95, 28 C.F.R. Part O, Subpart y, App. If a United States Attorney seeks to settle for an amount in excess of the delegated authority, a detailed justification for the settlement must be forwarded to the Torts Branch. The responsible Director will then make a recommendation to the Assistant Attorney General (or if the proposed amount is in excess of $2,000,000 to the Associate Attorney General). Although the Torts Branch endeavors to expedite consideration of settlement proposals, opposing counsel and, if necessary, the court should be informed that immediate action cannot be guaranteed on any settlement proposal.

    It is customary to consult with the Torts Branch during settlement negotiations when any concern arises regarding the advisability of settlement or of the amount of the settlement. Although authority to settle a case can be obtained in exceptional cases prior to submission of an authorized offer from the other party(ies) to the case, this procedure is highly disfavored and should not be used unless special justification for its use is provided. However, the Torts Branch will provide counsel as to what amount it will recommend to the Assistant Attorney General in advance of initiation or completion of settlement negotiations.

    Stipulations for admissions which are tantamount to a stipulation of liability must be approved by whatever level of authority is appropriate based on the highest reasonably predictable judgment that the court could enter predicated upon the stipulation or admission.

    Torts Branch Procedures -- FTCA Payment Procedure

    The procedures for payment of an FTCA settlement should not be initiated until after all required approvals are obtained. Most FTCA settlements are paid by means of a Treasury check issued upon making a request to the Department of the Treasury. Forms for use in transmitting a request for payment to the Treasury Department are included in the Civil Resource Manual at 224 et seq.

    Structured settlement agreements require careful attention to the terms and provisions of the agreement. The Torts Branch is available to be consulted regarding the particular terms of a structured settlement. Copies of the final settlement papers should be forwarded to the Torts Branch for retention.

    In the event that a reversionary trust provision is included in a structured settlement, the trust should include a requirement that the reversionary interest be paid to the United States Treasury in care of the Torts Branch pursuant to the terms of the agreement.

    Further information on the format and provisions for structured settlements is included in the Torts Branch Handbook entitled "Damages Under the FTCA."

    This information came from a
    US DOJ online article.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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