Red Bull Lawsuit Filed Over Wrongful Death From Energy Drink

The family of a New York man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the makers of Red Bull, claiming that side effects of the energy drink caused him to suffer a fatal heart attack.  

The complaint was filed on Monday by the family of Cory Terry, a Brooklyn man who died in 2011. According to allegations raised by the family, Terry suffered a heart attack while playing basketball shortly after drinking a can of Red Bull.

The 33 year-old construction worker led an active lifestyle and did not smoke, according to the family. Medical reports indicate that Terry died of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, meaning his heart simply stopped.

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The lawsuit claims that his regular consumption of Red Bull caused the death, and that the stimulants in the popular energy drink are more dangerous than consumers realize. The family is seeking $85 million in damages.

At least nine deaths following Red Bull consumption have been reported, according to the complaint. The FDA has indicated that at east 21 reports of health problems associated with Red Bull side effects have been received by the health agency between 2004 and 2012, including reports of chest pains, dizziness and fatigue.

Terry’s family is also suing the city for failing to have a defibrillator at Stephen Decatur Middle School, where Terry was playing basketball in the gymnasium at the time of his death. The complaint indicates that it took 40 minutes for an ambulance to get there following his collapse.

Red Bull also faces a class action lawsuit over false advertising, which was filed by a consumer who says that the manufacturer has made misleading claims by suggesting that Red Bull increases physiological and mental performance.

The Red Bull class action lawsuit, brought by Benjamin Careathers last January, alleging that the Red Bull website states that there have been “numerous scientific studies” that prove the drink increases performance, concentration, reaction speed, vigilance, and stimulates metabolism.

Energy Drinks Under Scrutiny

The lawsuit comes at a time when energy drinks are under close scrutiny by federal regulators and lawmakers, following a number of deaths and an increasing number of health problems linked to Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, 5 Hour Energy and other similar products. The energy drink makers have avoided FDA regulation by claiming the products are a dietary supplement

According to information from the FDA, there have been at least four deaths linked to Monster Energy Drinks and 13 deaths linked to 5 Hour Energy Shots.  In addition, side effects of Rockstar Energy Drinks have been cited in at least 13 non-fatal adverse event reports submitted to the FDA in recent years.

According to a report in January by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, there were 20,783 energy drink-related emergency room visits in 2011.

Increased scrutiny was turned toward the energy drink industry after the death of a 14-year-old girl, who died after drinking two cans of Monster in a 24-hour period. Her parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Monster Beverage Corp., alleging that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the health risks and negligently promoted high consumption of the drinks among children.

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