Class-action lawsuits filed in three states — including Mississippi — in response to rat infestation at Family Dollar center

Published 8:46 am Sunday, March 6, 2022

Class-action lawsuits in at least three states — including Mississippi — have been filed in connection with recent revelations of a rat infestation at a Family Dollar distribution center in Arkansas.

WMC Action 5 News in Memphis reports that lawsuits have been filed in Virginia, Mississippi and Louisiana.

In February, the Federal Drug Administration reported the discovery of thousands of rodents inside a Family Dollar distribution center in West Memphis, Arkansas. Officials said some products shipped to Family Dollar stores in six states, including Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, may have been contaminated.

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Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuits make various claims, including claims that the company “knew, should have known or was reckless in not knowing, that the products were exposed to salmonella and other infectious diseases due to the rodent infestation.”

More than 1,000 rodents were found inside a Family Dollar distribution facility in Arkansas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The chain issued a voluntary recall affecting items purchased from hundreds of stores in the South.

A consumer complaint prompted officials to inspect the West Memphis, Arkansas, facility in January, the FDA said in a news release. Inside the building, inspectors said they found live rodents, dead rodents in “various states of decay,” rodent feces, dead birds and bird droppings.

After fumigating the facility, more than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered, officials said.

“No one should be subjected to products stored in the kind of unacceptable conditions that we found in this Family Dollar distribution facility,” said Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judith McMeekin.

The FDA said it is working with Family Dollar to begin a voluntary recall of affected products.

Those products include human food, pet food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, medical devices and over-the-counter medications that were purchased in January or February from Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri or Tennessee.

In a news release, Family Dollar listed the 404 stores that may have sold products from the contaminated facility.

The company said it “is not aware of any consumer complaints or reports of illness related to this recall.”

The FDA said food in non-permeable packaging “may be suitable for use if thoroughly cleaned.” Regardless of packaging, all drugs, medical devices, cosmetics and dietary supplements should be thrown away, officials said.

“Family Dollar is notifying its affected stores by letter asking them to check their stock immediately and to quarantine and discontinue the sale of any affected product,” the company said. “Customers that may have bought affected product may return such product to the Family Dollar store where they were purchased without receipt.”

The suits filed over the last week seek to represent all Family Dollar customers in the six states where stores were closed.