Defendants Prevail In 2nd Formaldehyde Trailer Litigation Bellwether Trial

NEW ORLEANS — (Mealey’s) The jury hearing the claims in the second Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer formaldehyde products liability litigation trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana deliberated less than three hours on March 29 before returning with a verdict for the defendants (In Re:  FEMA Trailer Formaldehyde Products Liability Litigation, No. 07-1873, MDL 1873; Lyndon T. Wright v. Forest River Inc., et al., No. 09-2977, E.D. La.).

Lyndon Wright is the plaintiff in the trial, which began March 15.  Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt presides over the litigation.

Wright alleges claims against FEMA, Forest River Inc. and Shaw Environmental Inc. in the complaint filed in March 2009.  Forest River built the emergency housing unit provided by FEMA to Wright after hurricanes struck the Gulf states in August 2005.  Shaw Environmental installed the unit.

The plaintiffs in the consolidated litigation allege that they were exposed to formaldehyde in the emergency housing units.  As a result, according to the plaintiffs, they have chronic injuries, including respiratory complaints and increased risk of cancer.

The jury said the Forest River-brand trailer Wright occupied was not unreasonably dangerous in construction, composition or design.  The jury also said the trailer was not unreasonably dangerous because an adequate warning was not provided.

Finally, the jury said Shaw Construction was not negligent in the way it transported and installed the trailer.

This is the second trial in the consolidated litigation and the second verdict for the defense.  Gulf Stream Coach Inc. and Fluor Enterprises Inc. prevailed in the first trial, which concluded Sept. 14 (Charlie Age, et al. v. Gulf Stream Coach Inc., et al., No. 09-2892, E.D. La.).

[Editor's Note:  Full coverage will be in the April 6 issue of Mealey’s Emerging Toxic Torts.  In the meantime, the verdict form and exhibit list is available at www.mealeysonline.com or by calling the Customer Support Department at 1-800-833-9844.  Document #15-100406-024V.  For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]

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For more information, call editor Bill G. Lowe at 610-205-1129, or e-mail him at bill.lowe@lexisnexis.com.