Another wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the makers of Monster Energy Drinks, alleging that a 19 year old went into cardiac arrest and died after drinking at least two 16-ounce cans of the highly caffeinated drinks within a 24 hour period.
A complaint was filed this week in the California Superior Court for Alameda County, alleging that Monster Beverage Corp. is responsible for the death of Alex Morris, who went into cardiac arrest on July 1, and was pronounced dead after multiple attempts to resuscitate him at a local hospital.
The 19 year old was described as a “habitual” consumer of Monster Energy, drinking at least two cans of the beverages a day over the three years before his death.
According to allegations raised in the energy drink lawsuit, the makers of Monster drinks fail to provide adequate warnings about the dangerous levels of caffeine in the products and how they can be lethal to young people and those with pre-existing health condition.
The family indicates that Morris died from cardia arrhythmia due to cardiomyopathy, which involves a deterioration and breakdown of the heart.
Monster Energy Drink Lawsuit Allegations
This is at least the second Monster Energy wrongful death lawsuit filed against the manufacturer, with a prior complaint brought last year by the family of a 14 year old girl who died after going into cardiac arrest after consuming multiple cans of the heavily marketed beverage within a short period of time.
The lawsuits raise similar allegations about the potential side effects of Monster Energy Drinks, including indications that the products are aggressively marketed to young children, who are particularly vulnerable to heart problems caused by caffeine overdose.
Monster Beverage Corp. also faces an ongoing lawsuit filed by the San Francisco City Attorney, which accuses the energy drink maker of violating California law by marketing the products to children as young as 6 years of age, even though there is scientific evidence to establish that Monster energy drinks may cause heart problems, high blood pressure and seizures.
Featuring high amounts of caffeine and other stimulants, Monster drinks are promoted as a means of providing an energy boost. Marketing campaigns for Monster and other similar products manufactured by other companies, such as Rockstar and Red Bull, have been criticized for particularly targeting teens and young adults, encouraging them to drink multiple cans of the products and marketing them in connection with alcohol products.
Energy Drink Side Effects
Concerns about the effects of high caffeine energy drinks have been widely voiced by doctors and researchers, and a number of school and college institutions have banned the products because of the safety risks.
In December 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warned that children should not consumer any energy drinks, as the risk of caffeine overdose may be especially harmful for kids. While children should not consume more than 100 mg of caffeine in a day, Monster and other products typically have 2 to 3 times that amount in each can.
Research has found that caffeine overdose can result in heart attacks, cardiac arrest and death after doses ranging from 200 to 400 mg. Energy drinks have been linked to serious side effects, such as increased heart rate, sleep disturbances, hyperglycemia and diuresis.
The FDA is currently investigating health concerns surrounding the drinks after numerous adverse event reports have been submitted in recent years connecting energy drinks to severe injuries and deaths. According to information released last year, at least 37 adverse event reports have been received by the FDA involving health problems from Monster Energy drinks, including at least six deaths.
Amid aggressive marketing by the manufacturers, energy drink sales increased 240% between 2004 and 2009, and the number of caffeine overdose emergency room visits increased from 1,128 in 2005 to 16,055 in 2008. Approximately 56% of those visits involved individuals between the ages of 12 and 25 years.