Federal judge approves $42.6 million settlement in FEMA trailer case

A FEMA trailer park in St. Bernard Parish, La. A FEMA trailer park in St. Bernard Parish, La. Gerald Herbert/AP

A federal judge has approved a $42.6 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against companies that provided trailers to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to house victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ruled from the bench on an agreement that would resolve the claims on cases involving the formaldehyde fumes in trailers that FEMA offered people displaced by the storms.

AP said the 55,000 residents in the affected states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, would be eligible for shares of $37.5 million from the manufacturers of the trailers. Additionally, the residents would be eligible for a separate, $5.1 million settlement with the contractors that installed and maintained the units.

According to a 2008 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the formaldehyde levels in many of the trailers were “higher than typical U.S. indoor levels.” Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and has been linked to numerous health problems, including breathing difficulties.

Some of the plaintiffs told AP they were glad the case was over, but others said the settlement seemed unfair given the human costs of the incident. Lydia Greenlees’ mother lived in a FEMA trailer for two years and died of leukemia in 2008.

“I am saddened about the settlement in that I feel like it makes a mockery of my mother’s life,” Greenlees told the AP. “I don’t want anyone to think for one second that I view this settlement as a fair trade for my mother’s life.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.