Makers of the popular Monster brand of energy drinks are set to appear
in court this month in a
wrongful death lawsuit brought by the Fournier family of Hagerstown, MD.
Richard Fournier v. Monster Beverage Corporation is only one of many similar lawsuits brought on by individuals and families
who have been hospitalized or suffered losses due to the potentially dangerous
caffeine levels found in the drink.
In 2011, fourteen-year-old Anais Fournier consumed two 24-oz. cans of a
Monster brand drink over a two day period, containing a total of 480 milligrams
of caffeine (equivalent to the amount found in fourteen 12-oz. cans of
Coca-Cola). On the second day, she fell into cardiac arrest and was rushed
to the hospital. She was placed into a medically-induced coma to reduce
swelling to her brain, but the damage had already been done and it became
clear that she would never regain consciousness. Her parents took her
off life support six days later on December 23.
The official cause of Anais’s death was attributed to cardiac arrhythmia
due to caffeine toxicity. While advocates of Monster drinks contend the
caffeine level present in the product is not very much more than the amount
found in a cup of strong coffee, other ingredients in the drink mimic
the effects of caffeine and can intensify the reaction. In fact, guarana
is a plant extract that naturally contains caffeine, and taurine allegedly
affects cardiac muscles. Additionally, the fact that people who consume
energy drinks typically down them much faster than a cup of hot coffee
further exacerbates the problem by flooding the body with dangerously
high amounts of caffeine in a very short amount of time.
Monster Beverage Corporation has previously been sued for allegedly marketing
its products to children, teens, and young adults. A 2012 study published
by Pediatrics reported that teens who consume Monster energy drinks have
a heightened risk of the following conditions:
- Caffeine toxicity/ poisoning
- High blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Cardiac arrest
Other Hospitalizations and Deaths Related to Monster Drinks
Since October of 2012, the FDA has investigated five deaths and one non-fatal
heart attack linked to consumption of Monster products. The U.S. Drug
Abuse Network has reported a tenfold spike in emergency room visits involving
energy drinks, most of which involve teens between the ages of 12 and
17 who have suffered dehydration, heart problems, and heat exhaustion.
In 2011 alone, emergency rooms saw nearly 21,000 patients who suffered
adverse effects from energy drink consumption.
Currently, the FDA does not require the makers of energy drinks to list
the amount of caffeine present in their products because they are considered
nutritional supplements rather than food. Thus, Monster drinks are allowed
to contain more than the limit of 71 milligrams of caffeine typically
found in a 12-oz. soda.
The trial will take place in Riverside County, California.
The Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Biren Law Group fight for the
rights of families who have suffered a wrongful death and can help them
get the compensation they deserve. Call us today to schedule a
free case review to find out how we can help bring justice to your case.