Monster energy drink lawyers at Pintas & Mullins report of another lawsuit filed by the family of a teenager who died after consuming the beverage. The 19-year-old, Alex Morris, died from a cardiac arrhythmia in 2012.
A cardiac arrhythmia is an electrical problem with the rhythm or rate of the heartbeat, being either too slow or too fast to maintain life. During the sudden attack, the heart does not pump enough blood to the brain and other major organs, which results in loss of consciousness and potentially death. Morris' mother, Paula, is listed as the plaintiff in this latest case against Monster.
Her lawsuit alleges her son would not have died if he was not in the habit of drinking Monster. Morris consumed two cans of Monster every day for three years, including the day he died. The popularity of energy drinks among American teenagers has skyrocketed, thanks in no small part to the sneaky marketing ploys initiated by brands like Monster, Rockstar, and Redbull. These companies routinely advertise specifically to teens and pre-teens, even handing out free cans outside high schools.
Due to this dangerous and deceptive marketing, a lawsuit was recently brought against Monster alleging the company is the industry's worst offender in targeting youth. The plaintiff alleges that the products pose severe health risks, particularly to minors, and includes claims of unjust enrichment. The American Medical Association very recently voted to change its policies to support a ban on the marketing of energy drinks to children under 18. Indeed, one study commissioned by the FDA found that 65% of energy drink consumers are between the ages of 13 and 15 - an incredibly specific age group, undoubtedly targeted by intense marketing campaigns.
Another teenager's family similarly sued Monster in 2012, after the 14-year-old girl consumed two energy drinks and died of cardiac arrhythmia. Both families are alleging the same injuries and failure to warn claims against Monster.
CBS News recently reported that energy drinks are landing youths in the hospital in record numbers. A recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration affirmed this, noting that energy drink-related ER visits more than doubled over the past four years, from about 10,000 in 2007 to more than 20,000 in 2011.
Doctors say the high doses of caffeine and other stimulants can have severe negative reactions, particularly when combined with alcohol or other drugs. The government report noted that 18 to 25 year olds were the most common group to need emergency treatment. In fact, 18 of the nation's top physicians recently sent a letter to the FDA, urging it to re-evaluate the current standards of regulation for energy drinks.
The letter specifically cites the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) designation, which requires companies to prove that food additives in its products are considered safe by experts in order to gain exemption from the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act standards. Since caffeine qualified for a GRAS exemption, energy drinks were not subject to premarket approval.
The FDA is currently in the midst of investigating reports of deaths linked to energy drinks, including five associated with Monster. There have also been 13 deaths linked to 5-hour Energy. Unfortunately, the majority of these deaths occurred in youths.
Energy drink lawyers at Pintas & Mullins will continue to report on any studies, litigation efforts, and government alerts regarding these dangerous beverages. If you or a loved one was seriously injured by an energy drink or shot, you have important legal rights, and may be entitled to significant compensation for medical bills, emotional distress, or wrongful death.