Family Dollar, Dollar Tree Sued for Selling Unsafe Meds and Other Products

Class action alleges items were stored at improper temps and humidities, violating FDA regs
Family Dollar Dollar Tree Main Image
Beyond claiming improper storage of medications and other products, a new class action details alleged problems at Family Dollar’s facilities going back years.

Law firms Hagens Berman, Abdalla Law and Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen have filed a class action alleging that Dollar Tree Inc. and its Family Dollar Stores Inc. subsidiary violated Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations by selling adulterated over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and personal care items even after an FDA report directly informed the dollar store retailer that these items were being stored improperly. The class action complaint was filed Feb. 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of consumers nationwide. 

According to the lawsuit, rather than disposing of the products in question, “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,” noted Steve Berman, managing partner at Miami-based Hagens Berman and lead attorney on 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.” 

Beyond claiming improper storage of medications and other products, the lawsuit details alleged problems at the company’s facilities going back years. One such incident noted in the complaint was a February 2022 FDA inspection of a rodent-infested Family Dollar facility that also documented drug products stored at improper temperatures and humidities. Family Dollar settled a separate multidistrict litigation in Tennessee in regard to the contaminated products distributed from this facility, which it shut down.

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

Family Dollar then issued five recalls of OTC drugs, personal care products and other items that had been stored at incorrect temperatures, saying that they had been “inadvertently” shipped to its stores. The lawsuit disputes this claim, alleging that the company had done nothing to improve storage conditions at its facilities, which it knew were improper from the FDA’s report.

Storing medical products at improper temperatures can cause them to expire before the label’s expiration date, the complaint notes, adding that none of the recalls fully advised consumers whether they had a right to a full refund for these possibly dangerous products.

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

When contacted by Progressive Grocer regarding the class action, Dollar Tree responded: “While we don’t comment on the particulars of active litigation, we want to reinforce our commitment to providing safe, quality and effective products to our customers and to complying with all applicable laws and regulations, including product storage.”

Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree operates 16,622 Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces as of Oct. 28, 2023. The company is No. 21 on The PG 100, PG’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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