A man in his 20s, constantly on-the-go, felt a sudden wave of nausea come over him as he was driving on the way to work. His vision grew blurry. He pulled over and called his boss. He wouldn’t be in that day. Within hours, he was rushed to the emergency room, where he discovered he had stage 4 kidney disease.
The case, according to a recently-filed lawsuit, is long-term consumption of energy drinks. He reportedly drank four every single day, which is the caffeine equivalent of 12 Coca-Colas. He did this for 10 years. Now, he’s awaiting a liver transplant.
His case is one of five filed against Monster Beverage Corp., asserting claims of severe and almost deadly health problems resulting from longtime use of the drink. It’s alleged that habitual drinkers of the products suffer renal failure, stroke and heart attacks, among other health concerns.
Plaintiffs alleged the beverage company is negligent, that these drinks are defectively designed and that consumers weren’t adequately warn about the known risks of the drinks. Attorneys representing the consumers in these personal injury lawsuits say the drinks are “as bad for young people as cigarettes.”
Further, they allege there is a lack of transparency between the company and consumer. The company is aware of the danger, attorneys say. In fact, this isn’t even the first time the company has been sued for these type of claims. Yet, they have not changed their formula, practices or labels.
Last year, the company settled out-of-court two wrongful death lawsuits brought by family members of two men who died after allegedly consuming the drinks. One was 19 and drank two cans of the caffeine bomb every day for three years. He died of a heart arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy. His parents later alleged the company didn’t warn their son about the risks.
In another case, the widow of a man who died after consuming Monster Energy drink every day for two weeks before he died indicated he had 240 milligrams of caffeine in his system when he died.
There was also the case of a 14-year-old girl who reportedly died of caffeine toxicity. Although she had a heart condition, she reportedly suffered a heart attack after downing two of the 24-oz cans in a single day. An autopsy indicated the caffeine in her body blocked her heart’s ability to pump blood.
The details of those settlements haven’t been made public.
The company has countered that its products are safe and that these health ailments and deaths are coincidental. A Starbucks medium coffee has more caffeine than their products, a spokesperson insists. The representative called this new flurry of cases a “cottage industry” for injury lawyers.
Those filing the case have scoffed at that, saying the company settled these cases out-of-court, required plaintiffs to sign a confidentiality agreement and never released their total formula.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has looked into this issue before, following consumer claims against both Monster and 5-Hour Energy.
Court papers in some of these recent cases indicate caffeine could potentially be fatal if the dose is between 200 to 400 milligrams. The lawsuits allege a single, 16-ounce can of the drink contains 160 milligrams of caffeine.
The product is classified as a “dietary supplement” rather than a “food,” which is what has allowed it to sidestep the caffeine limitations imposed on other beverages.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Monster Energy Drink Almost Killed Us, Lawsuits Claim, Feb. 11, 2016, By Kate Briquelet, The Daily Beast
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