Press Release

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Dec. 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Singleton Schreiber, the premier fire litigation law firm with seven offices in New Mexico, filed a lawsuit against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) alleging the agency violated the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Act (HPFAA) by delaying compensation for plaintiffs and other claimants.

Angela R. Gladwell, Director of the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Claims Office, is also a named defendant.

Congress enacted the HPFAA in order to compensate victims of the Hermit’s Peak Fire. It designated FEMA to administrate these claims and to expedite payments to victims of the fore. The HPFAA required FEMA to notify claimants of their compensation offer within 180 days of their claim being submitted.

According to the complaint, FEMA has delayed compensating those who’ve applied which is direct violation of the law. The complaint lays out two ways in which FEMA has failed. The complaint states FEMA re-interpreted the 180-day deadline, with FEMA claiming it does not start when the claim is submitted but rather once FEMA “acknowledged” the claim. Second, the complaints alleges FEMA hasn’t even been able to comply with its own “arbitrarily applied deadline” by not responding to any of the plaintiffs’ claims.

“FEMA has moved the goal posts so to speak, and New Mexicans are suffering because of it,” said Brian Colón, Managing Partner of Singleton Schreiber’s New Mexico offices. “People are unable to rebuild their homes and lives. These individuals and communities are being retraumatized by FEMA’s utter and complete incompetence and unfair approach with claimants.”

The case is Wyley Cross et al. v. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Angela Gladwell, USDC District of New Mexico, Case No. 1:23-cv-01143.

About Singleton Schreiber

With over 300 staff and attorneys, seven offices in New Mexico (Albuquerque, Clovis, Las Vegas, Ruidoso, Mora, Los Lunas, Hobbs) as well as offices in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii, Singleton Schreiber has successfully represented more than 15,000 victims of utility fires and recovered over $2.5 billion on their behalf. Gerald Singleton and the entire fire litigation team are nationally recognized in fire and environmental litigation, and Singleton Schreiber is the “go to” law firm for any individual or municipality involved in fire litigation.

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