NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency is
asking a federal judge for immunity against lawsuits filed by
hurricane victims housed in government-issued trailers.
Lawyers for victims of Katrina and Rita accuse FEMA of
negligence for sheltering the victims in trailers with elevated
levels of potentially toxic formaldehyde.
But a government attorney argued that FEMA's decisions in
responding to a disaster are legally protected from "judicial
second-guessing." He said that's the job of Congress.
Lawmakers are holding hearings on formaldehyde concerns.
The plaintiffs' attorney argued that FEMA can be held liable for
providing trailers that didn't meet federal safety standards and
weren't designed to be long-term housing.
The judge took FEMA's request for immunity under advisement and
didn't indicate how soon he will rule.
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