A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the makers of 5-Hour Energy, the popular 2-ounce energy drink, which one family says caused a heart attack for a 27-year old Tennessee man.
The product liability lawsuit was filed by Monica Hassell, the wife of Antonio Hassell, in U.S. District Court in Tennessee late last month against Living Essentials, the company that manufactures 5-Hour Energy. According to the complaint, Hassell had been drinking the shot-like concoctions to stay awake during late shifts at a warehouse.
Hassell suffered a heart attack on August 2, 2009, while playing basketball, after about a month of drinking 5-Hour Energy on a regular basis. He died about seven months later.
The lawsuit alleges that Living Essentials failed to properly warn consumers about the health risks of 5-Hour Energy or its potentially lethal side effects. The lawsuit claims that the labels of the energy drinks are designed to lead consumers to believe that there has been pre-marketing clinical testing on the safety of the products, which is untrue.
According to the 5-Hour Energy Drink lawsuit, Hassell’s doctors determined that the drink, which contains a combination of caffeine, taurine, glucuronolactone, malic acid, and other ingredients, was the sole cause for his heart attack. Living Essentials has kept the specific recipe for the drink a secret, but the lawsuit claims that the ingredients as listed are known to increase the risk of strokes, blood clots, heart attacks and other illnesses.
The 5-Hour Energy drink, which dominates about 80% of the energy drink market, is considered a dietary supplement and not regulated by the FDA.