A wrongful death lawsuit over the heart side effects of Monster Energy drinks is set to go to trial in April, in what is expected to be the first such claim to go before a jury.
The trial involves a complaint filed by the family of Alex Morris, a 19-year-old teen who died of a heart attack in 2012, after consuming at least two cans of Monster Energy Drinks a day over the three years before his death. According to a recent press release, it is expected that the case will go before a jury in April in California Superior Court in Alameda County.
The Monster Energy heart attack lawsuit alleges that the manufacturer of the popular beverage failed to adequately warn consumers about a potential increased risk of heart problems associated with consumption, such as cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, and cardiac arrhythmia.
The 19 year old was described as a “habitual” consumer of Monster Energy, drinking multiple cans of the highly caffeinated beverage daily during the years before his death.
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
The case is one of several Monster Energy drink lawsuits filed in recent years, which raise similar allegations about potential health risks that teens and young adults may face, indicating that manufacturers placed their desire for profit before consumer safety by recklessly marketing the products to children, who are particularly vulnerable to heart problems caused by caffeine overdose.
Another wrongful death lawsuit over Monster Energy was filed in 2012, 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. Another Monster Energy lawsuit was reportedly settled out of court in August for an undisclosed amount.
Energy drink manufacturers have compared the amount of caffeine in their products to that of hot beverages sold in coffee houses, but the products are often packaged in very large sizes and they are not sold in controlled environments like coffee houses, which typically would not serve young children.
Energy drinks are widely available in convenience stores next to traditional soft drinks, typically packaged in very similar cans and using similar marketing techniques.
Many of the products contain pharmaceutical grade caffeine and additional caffeine from other natural sources. This much caffeine in one serving can cause a person’s heart to beat rapidly, increase blood pressure, or other nervous, digestive or cardiovascular system side effects, health experts warn.
Some energy drinks in many of the popular lines, like Monster and Red Bull, can contain up to 400 mg of caffeine per can. In comparison, a cup of coffee typically has around 100 mg of caffeine.
Caffeine poisoning can occur in adults at levels higher than 400 mg a day; however children under 12 can experience caffeine poisoning at only 2.5 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight.
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 in 2012, 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.