TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Katrina Victims Sue FEMA

Hurricane Katrina victims have added the Federal Emergency Management Agency to their suit against the manufacturers of trailers provided to the victims for emergency housing following the hurricane.   The suit alleges that the trailers contained hazardous fumes that caused the nearly 100 plaintiffs to become ill.  As the Houston Chronicle (via AP) reports,

Many trailer occupants have blamed their illnesses on formaldehyde, a common preservative found in building materials. Formaldehyde can cause respiratory problems and has been classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The plaintiffs accuse trailer makers of using shoddy materials and construction methods in a rush to fill FEMA's unprecedented demand for emergency housing after Katrina laid waste to tens of Gulf Coast homes in August 2005.

Recent government tests on hundreds of FEMA trailers and mobile homes in Louisiana and Mississippi found formaldehyde levels that were, on average, about five times higher than what people are exposed to in most modern homes.

Plaintiffs seek certification as a class action. 


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