Class Action Filed Against Family Dollar Over Rodent Infestation at Distribution Center

On Wednesday, Karen Sharp filed a class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of Arkansas against Family Dollar and Dollar Tree, Inc. alleging breach of the implied warranty of merchantability and deceptive trade practices. 

According to the complaint, Family Dollar is a North Carolina company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina and a wholly owned subsidiary of Dollar Tree, Inc., a Virginia corporation. Additionally, the complaint states that Dollar Tree is a Fortune 200 company and a leading operator of discount variety stores with more than 15,500 stores across the 48 contiguous states and parts of Canada. 

Further, the complaint states that Family Dollar operates a distribution center in West Memphis, Arkansas, that distributes products to 404 stores across six states; Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The plaintiffs allege that records obtained through the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act show that the distribution center had been inspected by the Arkansas Department of Health at least five times since March 2021, and during the inspections Health officials reported a rodent infestation in the facility. Further, the complaint states that after a fourth inspection the Arkansas Department of Health determined that effective measures were not being taken to stop the pest problem and therefore notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the problem in October 2021. 

The complaint purports that on February 11, the FDA concluded its investigation of the distribution center that found a severe rodent infestation with the FDA locating more than 1,100 dead rodents after the center was fumigated and internal company records showing the collection of more than 2,300 rodents between March 29 and Sep. 17, 2021, “demonstrating a history of infestation.”

The complaint states that on February 12, 2022, Family Dollar announced a voluntary recall for products that were sent from the West Memphis distribution center. Additionally, Family Dollar temporarily closed more than 400 stores in six states so that recalled products could be removed from the shelves. 

The named plaintiff, Karen Sharp, is a citizen of Arkansas who purchased recalled products from Family Dollar stores around her home. Sharp states that herself and other individuals who purchased recalled products shipped from the West Memphis distribution center are subject to actual harm, such as exposure to bacteria and disease, due to the center’s rodent infestation. 

Accordingly, Sharp filed the present lawsuit on behalf of herself and others similarly situated and alleges breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, unjust enrichment and violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The plaintiffs seek class certification, an award of actual and punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs. The plaintiffs are represented by Stephen Libby.