MORA — Two victims of the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, represented by Tom Tosdal of the Tosdal Law Firm and Ty Tosdal of Tosdal APC, filed a complaint Oct. 3, 2023 for declaratory relief against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) and its Administrator Deanne Criswell.
The complaint requests a declaration from the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico stating that FEMA’s final rules and regulations unlawfully violate the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Assistance Act by precluding recovery of noneconomic damages for pain and suffering arising from personal injury and annoyance, discomfort and inconvenience suffered by fire victims.
Plaintiff Marianna Lands, who lived on her family farm in Cleveland, New Mexico, for decades, suffered a stroke after she experienced the acute stress of evacuating her property as it was damaged by the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire and subsequent flooding. Plaintiff Charles Paynter, ranch manager and resident of the Trout Springs Ranch in Gallinas Canyon, Montezuma, was also required to evacuate and suffered additional annoyance, discomfort and inconvenience caused by fire-related damage to the property.
Both plaintiffs sustained significant noneconomic damages that are recoverable under the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Assistance Act, yet FEMA has precluded recovery for noneconomic damages in its final rules and regulations.
The case number for the lawsuit, Lands et al v. Federal Emergency Management Agency et al., is 1:23-cv-00869-JMF-JFR. More information can be found on the website for the US District Court for the District of New Mexico at https://www.nmd.uscourts.gov.