Family Dollar Accused of Improper Storage, Unusable Products

Many products cannot be stored in extreme temperatures. When temperatures are too hot or too cold, it can negatively impact the product and how it works. This is especially true for food and medicine. 

A class action lawsuit claims that popular store Family Dollar has sold products that were stored in extreme condition. The retailer is being accused of illegally selling millions of consumers nationwide over-the-counter drugs and medical devices that have been stored in conditions beyond their labeled temperature ranges.

The lawsuit against Family Dollar claims negligence, negligence per se, breach of implied warranty, failure to warn, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and violations of Florida and Georgia laws.

According to the 71-page class action lawsuit, Family Dollar and parent company Dollar Tree are being accused of recalling 779 drug products they claim were shipped and sold outside of their temperature requirements, making the items unsafe for human consumption.  This allegedly happened on five separate occasions since July 2022, with the plaintiffs alleging that unsafe Family Dollar products were sold in almost every state.

The lawsuit claims that Family Dollar cannot realistically claim that this practice has been purely accidental. The company is said to be fully aware of its improper storage practices and has willfully disregarded its alleged violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The lawsuit alleges that instead of losing tens of millions of dollars in initial purchasing costs, Family Dollar repeatedly pushed these losses off on unsuspecting low-income customers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that once an over-the-counter drug is kept at a temperature outside of the suitable range indicated on the product label, a consumer can no longer rely on its expiration date. Because of this the FDA warns consumers not to use expired medications since there’s no guarantee the product will be safe or effective.

The FDA investigated Family Dollar’s warehouse in Arkansas in January 2022 and noted unsanitary conditions, including a rodent infestation. There were live rodents as well as dead rodents in various states of decay. There was also rodent urine, feces, and odor, as well as evidence of gnawing and nesting. Inspectors also found dead birds, bird droppings, and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination.

Although Family Dollar has agreed to take some actions to correct its storage conditions as part of a multidistrict litigation settlement, the company allegedly continues to store drugs and medical devices in extreme conditions. In fact, an investigator spoke with a former Family Dollar store manager who says over-the-counter medications would be delivered in trucks with no temperature control and in black bags during the summer months.

There have been five recalls due to these improperly stored products. The recalls were issued in July 2022, September 2022, May 2023 and October 2023. The lawsuit is looking for consumers living in Florida or Georgia who purchased an adulterated over-the-counter drug or medical device from a Family Dollar store after May 1, 2022.

Issues With Improperly Stored Products

Products that are not stored properly can become contaminated and result in various issues, such as the following:

  • Food spoilage and contamination. Foods stored at incorrect temperatures can promote the growth of harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria, leading to foodborne illnesses. Improper storage can also lead to mold growth.
  • Chemical hazards. Chemicals stored improperly can release toxic fumes. Incompatible chemicals stored together can react violently, causing fires and explosions.
  • Degradation of medications. Medications that are not stored at the recommended temperature or humidity can degrade, becoming less effective or even harmful.
  • Physical injuries. Poorly stacked or unstable storage can lead to objects falling, causing injuries. Spills from improperly stored liquids can create slippery surfaces, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Environmental hazards. Pollution is another risk of improper storage. Improperly stored chemicals can leak into the ground or waterways, causing soil and water contamination. Certain chemicals can evaporate and contribute to air pollution, harming wildlife and humans.
  • Economic impact. Manufacturers and retailers face issues when products are defective or spoiled. Improper storage can lead to significant financial losses due to spoiled or damaged goods. Contaminated or unsafe products may lead to expensive recalls and loss of consumer trust.

Contact Us Today

We expect that the products we buy are suitable for use, but sometimes poor storage can render them unusable. Consumers should not have to deal with this issue and worry about health issues and other risks.

Defective products can lead to accidents, injuries, medical issues, and food poisoning. Protect yourself and seek legal advice from Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm. We are available to help you successfully pursue a claim against the manufacturer or retailer. Fill out the online form or call (954) 876-4344 to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Weston, Coral Gables, and Daytona Beach.