In Re: FEMA Trailer Formaldehyde Products Liability Litigation, No. 10-30921 (5th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, Mississippi and Alabama residents, brought a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2671-2680, action against the Government for injuries allegedly related to their exposure to elevated levels of formaldehyde contained in the component materials of the Emergency Housing Units (EHUs) provided to them by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The district court concluded that the Mississippi and Alabama emergency statutes barred suit against a "private person under similar circumstances" and granted the Government's motion to dismiss. Because the Mississippi and Alabama emergency statutes abrogated the tort liability of a private person who voluntarily, without compensation, allowed his property or premises to be used as a shelter during or in recovery from a natural disaster, the Government's voluntary, cost-free provision of the EHUs to disaster victims, in connection with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, was also immunized conduct under the FTCA. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment dismissing plaintiffs' FTCA claims against the Government for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and held that plaintiffs' remaining questions did not warrant certification.