Stock prices of Monster Beverage Corp. fell sharply after news that the company was being sued by the family of a 14-year-old girl who died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of the company’s Monster Energy drink.
The girl, Anais Fourner, died of heart attack that the law suit claims was caused by “caffeine toxicity” on December 23, 2011. The two energy drinks contain 480 mg of caffeine, which is approximately equal to ten cups of coffee. There is a FDA-mandated caffeine limit of 2% for soda; however, there is no such limit for products sold as “energy drinks.”
The lawsuit claims that Monster was negligent because they failed to provide a warning about the dangers of the product. The lawsuit also claims that six deaths and 15 hospitalizations connected to Monster Energy have been reported to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2009.
The company says it is not aware of deaths associated with the product, and denies any responsibility for Fournier’s death.
Personal injury attorneys say it may be hard to for the family’s lawyers to win the case against Monster Beverage Corp. They would have to prove that there was a direct relationship between the drinks and the heart attack.
While heart attacks are rare among teenagers, they are not unheard of. Fournier also reportedly had a medical condition that can weaken blood vessels that may have contributed to her heart attack.
Whether or not energy drinks should carry a warning label is another question. There are many different ways to get the same amount of caffeine into a person’s system. There are people who drink ten cups of coffee a day, which could give them the same amount of caffeine as the two 24-ounce Monster Energy drinks; should coffee be labeled as dangerous as well?
And would a label have helped? How many 14-year-olds would read and pay attention to such a label?
It is possible that the lawyers will be able to prove that the Monster Energy drinks were responsible for Fournier’s death, and/or that Monster was negligent in not providing a warning on the product label. But it’s not going to be easy to prove.
If you or a family member has been injured from any kind of dangerous product or situation, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at the law firm of James C. DeZao, P.A.