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Parents of dead teen sue Monster Beverage Corp.

Suit accuses energy drink maker of wrongful death

On Dec. 16, 2011, Anais Fournier had a 24-ounce can of Monster Energy drink. On Dec. 17, she had another one. By that evening, Fournier was in cardiac arrest, and six days later, she was dead.

Now, Fournier’s parents have sued Monster Beverage Corp., the maker of the popular energy drink, for wrongful death. They claim that the beverage—and it’s high caffeine content—caused Fournier’s death, which was reported on her death certificate as “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity complicating mitral valve regurgitation in the setting of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.” 

The suit, filed last week with the Superior Court of California, says that Monster has failed to disclose the exact amount of caffeine in its drinks and claims the company has not tested its drinks to determine the effects their high caffeine content have on the cardiovascular system. The suit also says the company markets its drinks to teens and young consumers but fails to disclose the health dangers of its products to its customers—particularly those who have existing heart conditions.

In their suit, Fournier’s parents ask “to recover all damages allowed by law for personal injuries suffered by their daughter prior to her death.” The complaint goes on to read, “Additionally, the plaintiffs seek to recover all damages allowed by law as a result of the wrongful death of their daughter.”

In addition to Fournier, four other people may have died after drinking Monster Energy in the past three years, according to a recent Food & Drug Administration report.

“FDA continues to evaluate the emerging science on a variety of ingredients, including caffeine,” FDA Spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said in an email to Bloomberg Businessweek. In a statement to The New York Times, Burgess said that energy drink manufacturers are responsible for investigating any accusations of death or injuries associated with them.

Read more recent articles and columns about product liability on InsideCounsel:

Litigation: Trademark licensor liability in product liability cases

Woman sues Southwest Airlines for $800,000 over hot tea

Merck will settle Coppertone class action

Litigation: What to know about the new “Big Food” lawsuits

Chinese drywall maker to face U.S. lawsuits over allegedly faulty products


Cathleen Flahardy

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