First Trial Over FEMA Trailer Fumes Opens

NEW ORLEANS – A jury has been seated in the first trial over whether Gulf Coast storm victims were exposed to potentially dangerous fumes while living in government-issued trailers. The five-man, four-woman jury picked Monday will hear the case against trailer maker Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. The lawsuit was filed by New Orleans resident Alana Alexander and her son, Christopher Cooper. The federal government won’t be on trial in this case. Judge Kurt Engelhardt ruled last month that a two-year statute of limitations bars Cooper’s claims against the government. Lawyers plan to appeal that ruling. Hundreds of consolidated lawsuits claim FEMA trailers exposed residents to “elevated levels” of formaldehyde, which can cause breathing problems and is classified as a carcinogen.