By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has given final approval to a $37.5 million settlement between companies that made government-issued trailers after hurricanes in 2005 and storm victims who claim they were exposed to elevated levels of formaldehyde while living in the shelters.
U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt heard testimony Thursday before ruling from the bench.
Roughly 55,000 residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas who lived in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita will be eligible for shares of the money paid by more than two dozen manufacturers.
Plaintiffs' attorneys also are asking Englehardt to approve a separate, related $5.1 million settlement with companies that installed and maintained FEMA trailers after the storms. He was scheduled to hear testimony about that later Thursday.
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