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Hagens Berman: Consumers Sue Family Dollar for Selling Massive Numbers of Allegedly Adulterated Medicines and Other Unsafe Products

Class-action lawsuit alleges Dollar Tree and Family Dollar Store sold products that were stored at improper temperatures and humidities, violating FDA regulations

Hagens Berman, Abdalla Law and Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen filed a class-action lawsuit claiming Family Dollar Stores Inc. and Dollar Tree Inc. knowingly violated Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations when they continued selling adulterated over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and personal care items even after an FDA report explicitly informed Family Dollar it was storing these items under improper conditions.

Attorneys say the retailers’ actions primarily affected low-income shoppers and their communities. If you purchased OTC drugs, medications or personal care products at Family Dollar since May 2022, find out your rights.

The class action complaint was filed Feb. 21, 2024, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of consumers nationwide.

According to the lawsuit, instead of disposing of products that it knew, and subsequently admitted, were stored under improper conditions and could not legally be sold, “Family Dollar repeatedly pushed these losses off on unsuspecting low- and fixed-income consumers. Family Dollar knowingly allowed these Products to be distributed and sold to avoid massive losses and maximize profits.”

“Family Dollar operates discount stores that are often the only affordable option for low-income consumers to purchase personal hygiene products, over-the-counter pain relief medications and other necessities,” said Steve Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman and attorney leading the case. “We believe Family Dollar profited from peddling unsafe products at a discount to people who had no other options. This is the kind of predatory behavior that consumer-protection laws were built to fight.”

Attorneys Say Family Dollar Put Families in Danger

According to the lawsuit, although this class action centers on the storage of products at extreme temperatures far outside of labeled requirements, problems at Family Dollar facilities have been endemic for years.

In January 2022, a news report showing a Family Dollar employee feeding a rat inside an Arkansas distribution center spurred an FDA inspection of the facility. The FDA’s February 2022 report detailed more than 1,100 dead rodents, “squalid” conditions and documented drug products stored under improper temperatures and humidities, noting that Family Dollar did not even monitor the temperature and humidity conditions in its distribution centers.

Family Dollar settled a separate multidistrict litigation in Tennessee regarding the contaminated products distributed from this rodent-infested facility, which it closed. But attorneys say that Family Dollar’s distribution of unsafe products didn’t end there, and this class action centers on the distribution of products that were stored under improper temperature and humidity conditions.

According to the lawsuit, Family Dollar continued to distribute products that were stored at improper temperatures and humidities, despite the February 2022 FDA inspection report explicitly warning the retailer about storing regulated products under labeled requirements.

Family Dollar proceeded to issue five subsequent recalls regarding OTC drugs, personal care products and other items that it had stored at incorrect temperatures, claiming they had been “inadvertently” shipped to its stores. The lawsuit asserts that Family Dollar could not realistically claim this was inadvertent when it had done nothing to change the storage conditions at its facilities, which it knew were improper following the FDA’s report.

Storing medical products at improper temperatures can cause them to expire before the marked expiration date, according to the complaint. Expired medical products are not only less effective, but they can also be “at risk of bacterial growth…leading to more serious illnesses.” None of Family Dollar’s recalls fully advised consumers whether they had a right to a full refund for these potentially dangerous products.

Attorneys say Family Dollar’s behavior was particularly egregious given its customer base. According to the lawsuit, Family Dollar retail stores are strategically placed in rural and underserved communities. The complaint references a report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance which found, “dollar stores target low-income neighborhoods, especially Black neighborhoods, and drive out grocers and other healthy eating options.”

“Family Dollar used and abused the trust it has deliberately cultivated with low-income communities to turn a profit,” Berman said. “Families around the country deserve answers from Family Dollar.”

The lawsuit brings claims of negligence, unjust enrichment, breach of warranty and violations of state consumer protection laws against Family Dollar.

Learn more about the lawsuit against Family Dollar for allegedly selling adulterated OTC drugs, personal care items and other products.

About Hagens Berman

Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its founding in 1993, the firm’s determination has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.


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