Monster Energy Drink Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Marketing

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson

A California man has filed a class action lawsuit against the makers of Monster energy drinks, alleging they advertise the highly caffeinated beverage as though it were a conventional drink, despite classifying it as a dietary supplement to dodge FDA regulations. 

The Monster Energy Drink class action lawsuit (PDF) was filed by Alec Fisher on December 12, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The complaint names Monster Beverage Corporation and Monster Energy Company as defendants, seeking class action status to represent all individuals who have purchased the companies’ energy drinks.

Dietary Supplement Label Helps Monster Dodge FDA Rules

Monster energy drinks are classified as a dietary supplement, which allows the manufacturer to avoid FDA regulation. The designation also allows the manufacturer to sell the energy drink without listing the ingredients or conforming to other food safety regulations.

According to the lawsuit, Monster energy drinks are promoted as though they are a standard soft-drink or beverage, which leads to the assumption by consumers that there is federal oversight into the manufacture and composition. Because of the dietary supplement designation, the FDA has not required testing for the highly caffeinated energy drink to establish that it is safe for consumers.

“Monster Energy Drinks, in fact, contain a dangerously high amount of caffeine that have never been subjected to any kind of pre-market review by any regulatory authority prior to them being put in the stream of commerce,” the lawsuit states. “Numerous scientific studies have shown that the consumption of large amounts of caffeine, in combination with other active ingredients like guarana, taurine, carnitine, sugar, among others, by youth and adolescents can have serious health consequences. Yet, Defendants knowingly and with reckless indifference, market, advertise and sell Monster Energy Drinks as completely safe via playful/seductive advertising designed to attract pre-teens and teens and via product placement.”

The lawsuit notes Monster promotions include bikini-clad models hawking youth-oriented clothing and accessories. Marketing also encourages the consumption of large amounts of Monster energy drinks so that consumers can collect can tabs to trade for gear.

Energy Drinks Industry Investigated

Monster Energy and other competing products, such as Red Bull, Rockstar and 5 Hour Energy, combine high amounts of caffeine with other stimulants, such as guarana and taurine, to increase energy and stamina.  However, concerns have emerged in recent years about the side effects of energy drinks, which contain 240 milligrams of caffeine in a 24 ounce can.

Prior research has suggested that caffeine overdose can result in heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias and death after doses ranging from 200 to 400 milligrams, and Monster Energy drinks are aggressively promoted to teens and young adults, who often consume multiple cans in short periods of time to provide a “caffeine buzz” or induced burst of energy.

The FDA has received at least 37 adverse event reports involving Monster drinks since 2004, including at least five deaths reported over the past year and a sixth reported in 2009. The latest lawsuit comes as California officials pressure Monster to prove some of the claims of safety it has made regarding its products.

In October, a Monster Energy wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the family of a 14 year old girl who died from a cardiac arrest that was allegedly caused by a caffeine overdose after consuming two 24 ounce cans within a 24 hour period.

The class action lawsuit over Monster Energy points out that marketing claims suggest that users cannot drink too much, despite the risks of caffeine overdose. The company’s advertising also claims the drink gives an energy “buzz” that suggests it has the effects of an alcoholic beverage.

Photo Courtesy of stevendepolo / CC by 2.0

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  1. Margaret Reply

    I think people need to be aware that it is not just the caffeine causing serious medical problems, but also the artificial sweeteners used in these products. I know from personal experience.
    Shortly after developing a “blue” Monster addiction, I had my first grand mal seizure, approximately five years ago,
    I thought I might not make it. I slept for days, I was so sick and disoriented I was able to abandon this”Monster”, and I hope It will soon be unavailable. However, not soon enough. I realize that I am suffering some apparently permanent brain damage.
    I have no doubt that these drinks , (particularly the artificially sweetened), caused me personal, physical damage, and are extremely detrimental to every ones health. Especially our youths.
    I know I made a mistake, and I have learned the hard way. I do wish that this drink would not have been available to me. Particularly the artificially sweetened.
    In fact there are many such products, foods that kill.
    It shows once again that most of these “entities” care more for profit, than for people.

  2. Ken Reply

    It is the consumers responsibility to read the can and decide if you want it or not. it says right on the can not to drink monster if you are sensitive to caffeine and the amount of sugar that’s put in there. Theres always somebody trying to sue big companies for the big payoff. Nobody is putting a gun to your head to drink Monster. You made the choice to drink it,so put the blame where it belongs,on yourself.

  3. JOHNO Reply

    Has anyone out there been approached to advertise for monster energy drinks? (auto wraps)

  4. William R Reply

    I have been drinking the Monster energy drinks since around 2001 or so, actually started on Rockstars, but liked the flavors better that were offered by Monster. I am in my late 40\’s now, and still drink the Monster energy drinks on a pretty regular basis, having about 1 can a day, and occasionally will have a second. I am in great health, and my employment has annual screenings to promote healthier living, invloving cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and hearing evaluations. Some few years back, I did make a conscience effort to cut down the amount of Sugars I was drinking and that included less soda Pop, and I migrated to the lower or No Carb No Sugar versions offered. I have had no adverse side effects from drinking energy drinks, other than the day I was stupid enough to drink 3 of them, I got jittery and anxious, but that\’s something that I caused myself, just as if I was to read the label on some alcoholic drink and then WILLFULLY drink more than I should, there is no cure for stupidity, and I am Really tired of all the backlash that is thrown around about the Monster and Rockstar drinks, why don\’t you Nay sayers just shut the F\’ up ?!? YOU apparently have NO PROBLEM dropping $8 on a freaking double expresso latte mocha Grande at the Flippin STARBUCKS before you start Your workday, Just HOW much CAFFINE and SUGAR is in those Puppies??
    Bottom Line here is that you need to be in control of YOUR own actions, and Not play mommy=daddy to the rest of society, if your kids have bad results stemming from Stupid behavior, perhaps you should\’ve been a more attentive Parent, instead of looking for a Big payday from a company trying, and succeeding at making, marketing, and selling their product!!

  5. Phoenix Reply

    William R, HURRAH! Thank you for your comment of common sense, which seems to be quite uncommon. I too am absolutely fed up with this bullshit drama over stupid ass people who are looking to make a quick buck and fuck over the rest of us who enjoy our drink.

    The thing that needs to be reminded of people is exactly like you said, parents need to do their fucking job and stop trying to expect the world to be bubble wrapped so they don’t have to teach their kids to pull their heads out of their ass.

    Let them win the Darwin award. Weed out the stupid and maybe the country might make a fucking recovery!

    @Margaret, all I have to say to you, is that you need to fucking die. You want the world to be safe for you, limiting options for others. GFY! If everyone took out of the world what was uncomfortable or not good for them, NOTHING would be left! Go outside Margaret and walk into the middle of traffic and do the world a favor. Better yet, go drink a 12 pack of Monster today, and be done with it!

  6. Troy Reply

    Are they going to go after coffee now too? The stated buzz being associated to alcohol is ridiculous. Yes caffeine gives you a buzz based on the fact that it is a drug. This drug is not illegal so Monster has every right to put it in their beverages. The fact of the matter is that this claims made about unhealthy side effects and heart attacks are backed by many studies that are so flawed as to be deemed useless as scientific basis and yet they also seem to leave out the common anomaly being that these people having heart attacks either ingested far too much or had some underlying or previous issue of heart disorder. You can die by drinking too much water and has happened. A condition called hyponatremia or polydypsia. More people die from obesity and heart disease every year due to poor diets of the processed foods we eat and high saturated fatty acids like fast food than from energy drinks. If you want to change something that matters then educate yourself and stop wasting everyone’s time. For the record the ld50 or toxic dose for the average adult is 10 grams not 200 milligrams and gurana is a berry which contains CAFFEINE not some horrible ingredient other than say oh caffeine for a total average dose of 240 mgs. Come on people.

  7. Mark Reply

    When does the 2014 Monster gear promotion start? Got my tabs ready.

  8. Dan Reply

    I drink 2 monsters everyday , for the last 5+ years and I have had no problems..

  9. Chris Reply

    I had a friend that told me not to drink monsters because of the large quintets of caffeine. So I looked up the difference in caffeine between coffee and monster. Monster had the less caffeine than coffe. Monster= 160mg Starbucks Coffee=330mg same amount.
    I drink monster to ovoid the caffeine crash and stay awake. It is muck healthier than coffee.
    So I do not understand why everyone is talking like monsters have more caffeine than coffee.
    BEWARE there is a number called THE CAFFIEN FACTOR that supposedly takes all the stimulants into account to come up with a comparison with coffee. In other words so coffee companies can make you feel good about drinking coffee over monster drinks.

  10. Michael Reply

    I have been drinking monsters since the day they have come out. I started with green then switched to the blue cans. But I will consume 3 24oz cans in one day sometimes and it does not give a buzz or make me feel oozy. I buy them,not for energy but because I like the taste of them. The price could use more help than the FDA can do. That dude probably is on some kind of benefits and if it has nutrition facts the per say food stamps will cover them like it does redbull. But I suck monsters from morning to night and I sleep fine and never have a lot of energy like normal. Monster Energy Rocks!!! And is the best tasting drink around in my opinion!! Keep em coming “Monster”!!!!!

  11. trinity Reply

    I feel that like anything you consume you do it knowingly and understanding what it will do to your body. I have drank monsters for years and I’m perfectly healthy. As a parent i don’t allow my children to drink them bc i know that they are generally used to boost your energy…i love their taste. Look if you don’t agree with monster drinks then don’t drink them.

  12. Chris Reply

    How many people die each year from alcohol? Are you going to sue the beer companies because they damaged your liver?

  13. Dave Reply

    I drink a large coffee every morning and 1-2 monster rehabs every day and i have no side affects and perfectly healthy. I have 4 daughters 8-10 yrs old and guess what i dont allow them to drink energy drinks. Its called be a parent and control what your kids eat and drink. And why does everything in california cause cancer or bad for you.

  14. karen Reply

    I drink a monster every day If your old enough to read the can you know what you are drinking. I love monster products. If you have a problem with monster dont drink it and stop bitching.its not going to stop the rest of us from enjoying it.

  15. jordie Reply

    you no the risk its simple drink it or dont its your choice nobody makes you!

  16. Dave Reply

    Will there be a promotion for the tabs in 2014?

  17. Relfie Reply

    I have been drinking monster now on a regular basis pretty much since 2005. I even have a monthly subscription of one case per month delivered to my doorstep. I am 38 years old and never had any bad experience and am in great health! Sometimes, I’ll even drink 2-3 cans a day. People that have died or have alleged health issues from drinking Monster, in my opinion, had those conditions before hand! Typical Americans with their hands out for free money either from Government or Suing Corporations!

  18. Joe Reply

    People need to stop going after products that “cause” health issues. I don’t believe it. It is all genetic if your family has a history of heart problems, dont drink caffeine. Simple. If something causes something then everyone who used it would get the same issue. These people probably went over the recommended use and had like 5 a day or something. Not everyone that smokes gets cancer! Your born with the issues people.

  19. Jennelle Reply

    I habe always been a caffeine addict since I was a teenager.. my toletance for caffeinebis very high.. I drink 1 monster every day forbyears with no ill effects.. it keeps me going when im exhausted.. love the taste too! I think the moral of this story is you cant fix stupid.. dont like it? Dont drink it! Why try and ruin it for the millions of people who do? Use commom sense.. If you’re not a regular caffeine user then its very ovious you shouldnt be consuming large amounts.. user error not monster!

  20. gus Reply

    And now I’m stuck here with a thousand can tabs for free gear, and all because some douches want to try and make a quick buck!

  21. Mark Reply

    I have an idea.
    Monster Energy just put on your cans ” Drink at your own risk” xD
    Then you got a loop hole haha
    No but seriously.
    So in the case of the 14 year old who died of Cardiac arrest……. Shes a child. Didn’t listen to the BOLD ALL CAPS print labeled on the can!
    People really irritate me with this shit because I have been drinking it since I was about 14-15 And I used to do 2 BFCs a day xD
    So uh…………
    Am I superman? Im 24 now…….
    I have an average intake of about 32-64 ounces every day or 2
    I drink them a LOT! I have hundreds of tabs saved for the Gear promos just from the last couple months!
    So answer that? Am I superman? Or is it just idiots who don’t know their own bodies? xD
    STAND UP FOR MONSTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Dennis Reply

    I drank hundreds and hundred of monsters in the last five years, and I’m fine I like the “tweak of South Park” feeling ahhhhh!!! Lol people will sue over anything these days. Have to label “contents are hot” on a fking coffee cup or you’ll get sued, dumbass it’s coffee it’s gonna be hot. Just a lack of common sense with people now a days. Where’s the class action lawsuits for mc Donald’s making people fat asses? Lol hey hey hey I’m fat Albert! And now diabetics lol “I shall sue you cause my fat ass doesn’t know when enough is enough for my mouth hole” people make me laugh

  23. jay Reply

    Seriously some people are against drinking monster energy because they think tht it’s terrible for your health…yeah it’s bad for your health…Thts only when you drink at least 3 of the 32 oz a day…whoever drinks tht much or more a day is just stupid…but anyway what I’m trying to say is tht I love monster energy I’m a big fan of the rehab series…keep up the good work monster!!!!

  24. Loren Reply

    I’m 45 and have been drinking monster for years with no side effects, I drink 1 to 2 cans aday. Everyone who is blaming monster for some of these health problems , it’s not there fault. Granted I’m sorry these things have happened to u. Some of the coffee drink offered now a days have more calories and caffeine then multiple monster drinks. But no one seems to sue them. Some people just need to earn their money the old fashion way. GET A JOB….

  25. Kenny Reply

    This has turned into the American way, sue someone! Common sense ISN’T COMMON ANYMORE!! You can’t fix stupid either…….

  26. denise Reply

    DOES ANYONE KNOW WHEN OR IF THE 2014 PROMOTION STARTS? OR IS IT CANCELLED DUE TO PEOPLE NOT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS!! Can not find anything on it!! I Think just like anything else, a parent should monitor and educate their kids about ANYTHING that could effect their health! I see kids in Caribou every day when school is let out! I do explain and they understand that moderation with caffeine of ANY KIND is smart! Like ANYTHING if you don’t do it in moderation there could be bad effects! Stupid to blame something when the consumer is VERY AWARE of whats in it!!! Sick of people wrecking things for everyone else by blaming someone, but themselves!

  27. Virginia Reply

    I have been drinking Monsters for quite a few years now. Have read the warning which states people sensitive to caffeine should not consume. I have tachycardia but “choose” to drink it anyhow. Since it is ny choice’ to drink it and something happens the only person to blame is myself. Others need to do the same thing. The warning is there for a reason. Ignorance is not an excuse. Enjoy your Monster.

  28. J.Mann Reply

    The company I work for was sub contracted for a job and during the training class the instructor said no energy drinks can be consumed on this job site and a few minutes later she said smoking was allowed in designated areas only. I said you have to be kiddin me you cant drink an energy drink on this job but you can smoke????? I have drank 2 to 3 monsters a day for 7 years now and haven’t had any problems. what is this world coming to ?

  29. Will F. Reply

    Read on “Yahoo Answers” that someone called in and was told they are no longer doing the “TAB” promotion. This is probably due to the lawsuit. The caller also stated that Monster is tracking the interested parties who do call about the “TAB” promotion and may bring it back at a later time. NOT A CHANCE for 2014!

  30. susan Reply

    ok there is a warning on the can if u ignore that don’t blame the company for it blame yourself its not there fault you are the one who chose to consume it and abuse it learn how to read and don’t punish the rest of the world for your stupidity

  31. Jay Reply

    I just want another backpack… Sigh.

  32. nik Reply

    if your too stupid to read, then its best to avoid using it. that goes with anything. i hate retarded Americans ruining things just bc they like to hear themselves talk. everyone has an opinion, we know you have one too, but no one asked. STOP BEING SELFISH AND LET US HAVE OUR FUN!!!

  33. Stef Reply

    Wow! – can you imagine the repercussion from this. I mean alcohol, cholesterol, all sugar, coffee, etc…etc. If you litigious individuals really want this prepare for empty convenience stores, grocery stores, and on and on. Liberal people will always have hatred towards a prosperous company unless it’s there own. Full of feelings of entitlement yet pissed at those that have successfully earned what they want. Let’s not forget that the quality of living, our freedoms, our entrepreneurial spirit, patents and ingenuity are 2nd to no other country in the world. This has boosted our middle class and quality of living way beyond what past generation could have ever imagined. Yet – people like the ones supporting the subject of this article want nothing more than to punish and pass laws that kill all of this. And it is truly all out of false blame, self pity, greed and excessive feelings of self worth. These are serious diseases in any society and very sad to witness more and more in this once great country.

  34. Donald Reply

    Ive been drinking Monster since 2009. Got hooked while deployed. I started out drinking up to 9, yes 9, Green Mega Monsters a day. I have since switched to Rehabs and the occasional M3’s. As of today, I drink up to 7 Rehabs a day and if I can find the M3’s, Ill do 2 of those with a Rehab chaser. Even with these levels of intake, guess what, Im generally in good health. My only health issues are due to 23 years of smoking and body aches and pains due to 14 years of Military service. Im not saying anyone can intake as much of these ingredients as I can, everyone has different tolerances. I also agree with previous comments, it is up to parents and the consumer to be responsible with these products. As far as the arguements that this product is dangerous and should be regulated or banned, many products people use on a daily basis are dangerous. Perhaps we should ban all those as well. To those that argue that it should be banned or regulated because its unhealthy, guess what? In the end, it is our bodies. We will do with them as we see fit. How would any of you feel to have someone telling you how to treat your own flesh and skin against your wishes. If anyone wishes to truly question how much I intake on a daily basis, now or in the past, please feel free to contact me(Im sure most people could find me on Facebook) and I will gladly point you in the direction of many credible witnesses, to include my fiance. Anyone wishing to bash me for my comments or my choices, I will gladly point you in the direction of my middle finger, followed by the door. I do not care for your opinions, it is my life. No one owns me or controls my choices or body but myself.

  35. tracy Reply

    I also have been drinking Monster since 2001.Work 2 jobs 17yrs.,raised 2 children.And drink about a case(sometimes more) depending on my schedule a week.Never drank coffee or smoke. So let me have my Monster.GRRRRR !!!! Wellness check ups are perfect.Except for lifes normal stresses I’m doing fine.Proud to be 50 this year. People need to get real & take responsibility for their lives. Thank you.

  36. Margaret Reply

    I only drank “BlueMOnster”.
    The long term effect was like swallowing a demon that is never satisfied. It smashes my head on the stairs and beats me black and blue. Stealing my speech and my ability to drive or care for my young children.
    I will be the first to warn anyone not to touch that evil crap.
    I still like to drink caffeinated products, but I would not crack a “BLUEMONSTER” for anything.
    The stuff is highly toxic, I was just too much of a gullible,idiot to think that a harmless energy drink would be so dangerous.
    I am truly lucky and grateful to be alive.

  37. Shana Reply

    Like really? EVERYONE knows the know what Monster ENERGY drink is. No one MAKES you drink it. people just rey to get money. I mean really. I used to drink 6 a day. and im still perfectly fine. its tells you who should drink it. READ THE CAN. Commercials cost money. They only have a short period of time to promote the drink. but you cant be stupid enough to not realize if your pregnant or have a heart condition it would be okay to drink those. You have to know that they are highly caffeinated. duh its an energy drink!!! USe your common sense!!!!!!!!!!!! People drink Starbuck all the time. Think about how caffeinated that is! SMH

  38. Jeffrey Reply

    I drink any where from 10 to 12 monsters a day. I also have 3 blood clots in my lungs & other health issues. I take blood thinners on a daily basis to keep my ass alive & kicking. Monster & rooster booster is the only energy drink that doesn’t counteract with my blood thinners. Red bull, nos, full throttle, rock star can kill a person on blood thinners. People want to sue over stupid stuff just cuz people can’t read the fine print when it’s in BOLD letters. Hell lets sue red bull cuz it can’t give no one wings. Then sue full throttle cuz it can’t make you go faster, then sue rock star cuz it doesn’t say not for teens, then sue nos also cuz it’s made coca cola just like full throttle is. Even if they made monster to where you have to be 18 to 21 to buy it then all the lawsuits after that need to be thrown out cuz the parents will be buying it for kids to drink just parents let their drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes & do drugs. Also if you make monster a certain age to buy you need to make sure all energy drinks are set the same way. Here in Kansas we have had some deaths where kids died from red bull & rock star. If you judge one judge ALL OF THEM not just one. Plus if the stupid person who opened this law suit wins I will open a case against all the others for same damn thing & plus more. So watch out coca cola & red bull!!!!!!!!!!! Also keep in mind when red bull, nos, full throttle, venom, kick start, rock star, & monster all came out they were supplement facts & they went to nutrition facts to dodge the FDA & to make more money cuz 95% of the people on food stamps drink one or more of them daily. So if the law bans monster they need to ban every single energy drink out there then after they ban them they need to ban alcohol cuz of all the people that drink & drive & alcohol can make people kill people cuz it blurs their vision.

  39. NIC Reply

    People need to take their own actions in to account. If you READ container they list what is in the beverage. They have precautions on the container. Instead of blaming a company for putting out a product that many people drink wisely for causing you or someone harm, turn those pointer fingers towards the people who are drinking them. In all honesty any beverage from apple juice to water(yes, I said water) can be harmful to someone if consumed at to high of a rate. People are flat out ridiculous. As much as I feel for people who have sustained some form of illness or fatality and for the loved ones of those people, all I can say is that it is not the drink makers who are at fault.

  40. Jon Reply

    This is why we can’t have nice things is because therebisbalways one person that should have been left in the shallow end of the gene pool that ruins it for everyone.

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