Monster Beverages Corporation, the maker of Monster Energy drinks is a company based in Corona, California. The company whose sales reached 8 billion drinks resulting in $2.3 billion in net revenue in 2012 is well known for its aggressive advertising, especially targeting teens and children. However, Monster Beverages recently has been involved in several lawsuits regarding the safety of its product and is currently under FDA investigation. According to the product’s label, it is safe to consume up to three 16-ounce cans, resulting in 480 milligrams of caffeine, which is five times the maximum daily limit recommended for adolescents and children.
Monster Beverages Facing Wrongful Death Claim
By October 2012, the FDA received five reports of deaths related to the consumption of Monster Energy Drinks. One of these cases, the death of Anais Fournier, a 14 years old girl led to a wrongful death claim. Monster Beverages Corporation was sued by the parents of the deceased girl, claiming that their daughter suffered a cardiac arrest after consuming two Monster beverages within 24 hours.
The girl suffered a heart attack within two hours after consuming a second energy drink. She was placed into an induced coma where she stayed for six days before being removed from life support. According to the Maryland Medical Examiner's Report, the cause of her death was caffeine toxicity.
In response, medical experts hired by the drink company blame the death on preexisting heart conditions. Medical records show a history of heart problems dating back to when the girl was just six years old. A history of heart conditions also exists in the family: Anais's mother had a pacemaker implanted and the maternal grandfather suffered a heart attack. The company argues that this was an isolated incident and that its energy drink alone did not cause the girl’s death.
New Lawsuits Regarding the Safety of Monster Energy Drinks
While the liability of Monster Beverages Corporation in the case of Anais Fournier is yet to be determined, the FDA is also investigating the safety of the energy drinks. While Monster Beverages and the City of San Francisco were apparently working together to change the youth targeting marketing practices, suddenly on April 29, 2013, Monster sued City Attorney Dennis Herrera claiming that he is:
- imposing his personal views regarding the safety of the energy drinks
- violating the company’s rights to freedom of speech
- burdening interstate commerce
As a response the City Attorney also sued Monster Beverages on May 6, 2013, accusing the company of:
- mislabeling its energy drinks as dietary supplements
- selling a product with unsafe levels of caffeine
- misleading consumers about the dangers of the product
- falsely marketing the product as being safe
While Monster Beverages still argues that the FDA has never disputed the fact that the ingredients of the drinks are generally recognized as safe or that the drinks are properly labeled, the outcome of the lawsuits is likely to impact the company’s flourishing business.
How can the Sacramento & Elk Grove-based O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm Help?
The manufacturers of dangerous and defective products can and should be held responsible for injuries caused by those products. At the O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm we represent injured victims in all types of product liability lawsuits in Sacramento and Elk Grove areas.