Arkansas is suing Family Dollar for discovering more than 1,000 dead rodents at a state distribution facility, prompting the discount retail chain to recall items purchased at hundreds of Southern stores.
That legal actionFiled in state court Thursday by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, the chain and parent company Dollar General accused the chain and parent company Dollar General of deceiving consumers, acting negligently and participating in a conspiracy that facilitated the infestation at the West Memphis facility.
family dollars more than 400 branches closed in February after the dead rats were found at one of its distribution facilities. Details of the infestation were later given in a 22-page inspection report from the US Food and Drug Administrationsuch as problems ranging from “four rat carcasses on the conveyor belt” to rodent droppings “too numerous to count”.
The FDA said in the report that Family Dollar had been aware of the presence of rats at the camp since at least January 2020. The lawsuit highlights Family Dollar’s knowledge of rats in storage well before it recalled products, noting that the company “choose” not to share that information with Arkansas consumers, but instead continued to profit from sales of its goods.
“This misconduct by Family Dollar Stores and Dollar Tree enabled them to maximize profits while inducing Arkansas citizens to purchase unsafe, adulterated and contaminated products,” the lawsuit states.
Dead rodents and birds
The FDA said in February that it inspected the distribution facility following a consumer complaint. Inside the building, inspectors said they found not only dead rodents but also live rats, rodent droppings, dead birds and bird droppings.
The department store’s problems are “worrying” because consumers are “right to demand that basic hygiene and safety standards be met,” said retail expert Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, in a March report.
A Dollar Tree spokesman did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Thursday.
More than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered after the facility was fumigation, officials said. Family Dollar issued a temporary recall and closed more than 400 stores in six states — Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee — allowing numerous products that had been at the facility to be removed from shelves. Family Dollar said in February there were no known illnesses related to the recall.
Arkansas’ lawsuit seeks up to $10,000 for each violation of the state’s Deceptive Trading Practices Act proven in court, damages and compensation for all consumers affected by the contamination. In her lawsuit, Rutledge is also asking a state judge to suspend or revoke Family Dollar’s license to conduct business in the state.