Business Week
April 20, 2012

Nearly two dozen companies that manufactured government-issued trailers for storm victims after Hurricane Katrina have agreed to pay $14.8 million in a proposed class-action settlement of claims that the temporary shelters exposed occupants to hazardous fumes.

Plaintiffs’ Gerald Meunier said Tuesday that the agreement could benefit tens of thousands of Gulf Coast residents who lived in travel trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Meunier said 21 trailer makers or their insurers will pay to resolve the claims without any admission of wrongdoing.

A court filing Friday asks U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt to give his preliminary approval to the deal, which would be the largest mass settlement of claims over formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers so far. The chemical, commonly found in building materials, can cause breathing problems and is classified as a carcinogen.

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