Forest River FEMA Trailer Trial Begins Monday

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March 11, 2010 by   1 Comment

Forest River Inc. logoThe second of five “bellwether” trials on the environmental safety of travel trailers built for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for 2005 hurricane victims is scheduled to begin Monday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.

Forest River Inc. is the defendant in this case, along with environmental testing firm Shaw Environmental Inc. and FEMA, brought by Lyndon T. Wright.

The suit, filed March 2, 2009, claims Forest River supplied trailers to FEMA that were contaminated with toxic levels of formaldehyde.

Forest River and other RV manufacturers supplied tens of thousands of trailers for emergency use following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. The trailer makers subsequently faced lawsuits from hurricane victims claiming that the formaldehyde caused their health to deteriorate. Company lawyers say the trailers were safe.

Forest River, represented by New Orleans attorneys Jason D. Bone and Ernest P. Gieger Jr., has identified more than 60 witnesses by name that it could call during the trial before Judge Kurt Englehardt. The U.S. government has named 33 witnesses it plans to call in its defense.

On Sept. 24, a jury took just four hours to find Gulf Stream Coach Inc. innocent of similar accusations from a family that occupied a trailer made by the Nappanee, Ind.-based company.

Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. and Keystone RV Co. Inc. also were sued in the same court. The case against Fleetwood, the predecessor company to the current Fleetwood RV Inc., was settled out of court in a confidential agreement, which was approved on Wednesday by the court in Riverside, Calif., overseeing Fleetwood’s bankruptcy, according to Fleetwood attorney Richard Hines.

The Keystone trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 11, has been rescheduled to a later date.

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One Response to “Forest River FEMA Trailer Trial Begins Monday”

  1. cosmojazz on May 24th, 2010 3:18 pm

    I had the pleasure of living in a fema trailer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and I did not have any problems. I was already diagnosed with asthma several years earlier and did not suffer any more than usual. The only problem was I developed vertigo (the trailer was just too small).My family and I stayed in the trailer for 5 or 6 months.
    I guess there will be fumes from anything new(like carpet, drapes, dry wall, mold
    paint..etc..) I have reactions to those things also. Who knows I may develop cancer in my lifetime and I may not. I cannot be sure what the cause will be. I am breathing just as good now as I was then which my doctor says in great. The people who should be suing are the people with Chinese dry wall. those poor folks have it really bad.
    The people I would like to sue is The Louisiana Road Home who gave us the biggest run around ever (and still no money) We had to live off credit cards and use our content money for the first contractor that came along in order to get out of the trailer before the deadline!! (which was steadily looming). Now my husband and I will probably have to work for the rest of our natural lives to make up for the Katrina mess! So I DO NOT blame Forest River I blame the Federal Gov’t ( yes GW) for not making more funds available to Louisiana to rebulid AND Louisiana for not distributing honestly!
    You should see the blight now. We still have houses the have not been touched since Katrina because people took Road Home money and said **$# the house I’m buying a new car(talk about priorities huh?). I just had to tell somebody. Please don’t ask for my real name cause I don’t want no hate mail!
    P.S. My father had a Champion motor back in the 70’s and it was a fine way for a large family to travel.I still remember out annual trip to California fondly.
    So guys JUST GO GREEN!!!!!!