MARK A. KEARNEY, Magistrate Judge.
After carefully deciding not to join the United States as a co-defendant in an underlying medical negligence case partially arising from a deemed federal employee doctor's negligent care of an expectant mother, Temple University Hospital, Inc. ("Hospital") now turns around and asks we amend our Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law to award it interest and attorney's fees on the $4 million judgment entered in its favor and against the United States on its contribution claim. The Hospital admittedly cannot cite a legal basis for us to craft an interest and attorney's fee award under either the Pennsylvania contribution statute or the Federal Tort Claims Act under which it sued the United States. Absent governing law, the Hospital appeals to our equitable powers to compel the United States to pay 6% interest on money it never knew the Hospital agreed to pay to settle a medical negligence case with uncertain damage ranges at trial and share in attorney's fees and costs paid to Hospital lawyers for a case the United States never had a chance to defend. We find no basis to create remedies in statutes not otherwise adopted as the public policy of the United States or the Commonwealth. Having already denied these requests in our Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and absent reasons to retreat from our earlier analysis, we again deny the Hospital's request for interest and attorney's fees.
After a non-jury trial, we issued Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law under Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a) finding Dr. Clinton Turner, a deemed federal employee working in the Hospital, shared equal responsibility with nurses for breaching a standard of care causing birth injuries to minor J.M. Finding the Hospital's $8 million settlement of the underlying action brought by J.M. and parents in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to be reasonable, we entered a $4 million judgment in favor of the Hospital on its contribution claim and against the United States. We specifically found no basis for prejudgment interest or attorney's fees and costs allegedly incurred by it in the underlying case in which it decided to defend without adding the United States as a co-defendant.
The Hospital now moves under Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(b) to amend our Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Judgment and award it: (1) $635,178.08 in pre-judgment interest accrued on the $4 million settlement at Pennsylvania's statutory interest rate of 6%; and (2) $83,429.07 representing one half of the attorney's fees and costs it incurred in defense of the underlying medical negligence action. We decline to do so.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(b) provides "[o]n a party's motion filed no later than 28 days after the entry of judgment, the court may amend its findings — or make additional findings — and may amend the judgment accordingly." A Rule 52(b) motion allows an appellate court to draw from the record "a correct understanding of the factual issues determined by the trial court as a basis for the conclusions of law and the judgment entered thereon."
A. Hospital does not offer new grounds to amend our considered judgment.
Hospital admits we correctly concluded the Pennsylvania Uniform Contribution Among Tort-feasors Act ("Act")
Our Judgment relied upon interpreting the Act to avoid crafting judge-made remedies onto a statute. Contribution is a creature of statute in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania's General Assembly provided a statutory right to contribution from joint tortfeasors who are "entitled to a money judgment for contribution" where it "has by payment discharged the common liability or has paid more than his pro rata share thereof."
The Commonwealth's General Assembly did not define a public policy of awarding attorney's fees, costs, and prejudgment interest when succeeding on a statutory contribution claim. Under Pennsylvania law, "the touchstone of interpreting statutory language is to ascertain and effectuate the intent of the legislature."
B. We decline to craft an interest remedy not authorized by the Federal Tort Claims Act.
While admitting the lack of authority in the Act, the Hospital argues equity requires an award of interest, attorney's fees, and costs, and the United States has a quasi-contractual obligation to pay the Hospital for lost time value of money, costs, and fees it advanced when it settled the underlying action. The Hospital relies primarily on Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. Philadelphia Elec. Co.,
We are not persuaded by the Hospital's reliance on a district court's extension of remedies four decades ago in Nationwide Mutual, which did not involve claims against the United States. Judge Broderick's use of equity to broadly interpret Pennsylvania's statutory contribution arose where the plaintiff sued all responsible parties and an insurance company settled the claims for all named defendants and then turned and sued the other defendants who knowingly benefited from the insurer's payment. The other defendants benefitting from the insurance company's settlement payment already faced a lawsuit, attorney's fees and potential judgment. We do not face the same equitable arguments. The underlying plaintiff J.M. did not sue Dr. Turner or the United States. The Hospital, after extended lawyer consideration described in our Findings of Fact, purposefully decided against bringing the United States into the underlying negligence action.
Even if we faced facts similar to Nationwide Mutual and we ventured into the "principles of equity and natural justice"
C. We find no basis for an award of attorney's fees.
As with interest, the United States is not liable for attorneys' fees or costs. The Hospital offers no authority for an award of attorney's fees allegedly incurred in defending the underlying negligence case under either the Act or the FTCA.
Our research uncovered two schools of thought on attorney's fees in FTCA cases. First, several courts of appeals have held the successful plaintiff is not entitled to attorney's fees incurred in prosecuting the FTCA case against the United States.
While not clear in the Second Amended Complaint, we can liberally interpret the Hospital's claim for contribution as seeking payment towards the amount paid to J.M. and for attorneys' fees.
Lastly, even assuming we follow the reasoning of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Tri-State Hospital Supply, we are not aware of Pennsylvania law allowing a fact-finder to award attorney's fees as part of a negligence award. To the contrary, absent a statutory grant, underlying attorney's fees are not part of a Pennsylvania negligence verdict but, as in Tri-State Hospital Supply, they are part of a malicious prosecution or abuse of process claim in Pennsylvania as well. The plaintiffs attorney's fees in a medical negligence case are customarily paid from the settlement amount. The FTCA recognizes this reality by limiting a contingency fee paid to a lawyer recovering from the United States under the FTCA.
We earlier found the United States must pay one-half of the settlement paid to J.M. arising from its federally deemed physician's equal liability for a departure from the standard of care. The Hospital sought this recovery under Pennsylvania contribution statute which does not authorize "contributing" to any amount other than the sums paid to the plaintiff. The Hospital has not persuaded us to exercise our equitable powers outside of the statutory mandates in the Act and FTCA. It has not shown grounds allowing us to reconsider or amend our extensive Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. We deny its motion to amend in the accompanying Order.