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Scott Kappes
Scott Kappes
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FEMA Trailer Lawsuits Likely to Focus on Manufacturers

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After Hurricane Katrina ravaged the gulf coast over two years ago, thousands of evacuees were provided government purchased trailers. Today thousands of evacuees still call these trailers home. Recent concerns over toxic levels of formaldehyde have drawn the interest of plaintiffs’ lawyers throughout the nation. Several lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the residents of the toxic trailers. Experts believe that plaintiffs will likely focus their efforts on the manufacturers of the trailers rather than the dealers of the trailers. Formaldehyde is used to help preserve composite-wood and particleboard commonly found throughout most trailers.

A study released last week shows that over one third of the 519 trailers that were tested were found to have unsafe levels of formaldehyde. The levels in about five percent of the trailers were high enough to cause a healthy adult to become ill.

Thad Godish, a Ball State University professor, said claims of health problems from exposure to formaldehyde in trailers could be difficult to prove. After years of litigation, a case may lead to a relatively small settlement.