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Florida-based law firm Morgan and Morgan has filed five lawsuits against Monster Energy, a line of caffeinated energy drinks from Hansen Natural Corp.
According to documents filed on behalf of the plaintiffs, regular consumption of Monster Energy led to strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure. One former customer, a man who drank four cans of Monster Energy a day, is currently on dialysis and waiting for a kidney transplant.
Another man who suffered a stroke after consuming six cans of Monster, or the caffeine equivalent of 28 12-ounce cans of Coke a day, suffered a stroke last March that has left lasting effects, according to the suit.
Although Monster has repeatedly denied that its drinks pose a health concern, at least five previous deaths have been linked to its consumption, along with dozens of reports of adverse side effects including abnormal heart rate, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
Court documents indicate that caffeine “can be lethal in doses ranging from 200 to 400 milligrams” and that one 16-ounce can of Monster contains 160 milligrams. Because caffeine is not a nutrient, but a naturally occurring chemical, the FDA does not require the amount of caffeine a product contains to be labeled, though the agency considers “beverages up to a level of 0.02 percent or 200 parts per million” to be “generally recognized as safe.”
The firm, which has created a website called energydrinklawsuit.com and has urged Monster customers to identify their health complaints, contends that as a beverage company, Monster has an obligation to the public to identify the amount of caffeine in its drinks. The company’s inaction, according to the lawsuit, makes it directly responsible for the health concerns.
The lawsuit, filed on February 8, asks the court to “punish defendants [Monster] and to deter defendants from engaging in such misconduct in the future and to affect significant change in the way defendants design, manufacture, market, promote, warn about, and distribute and/or sell its products.”
“These cans lack all types of warnings,” attorney Mike Morgan told The Daily Beast. “The thing that’s most stunning is the lack of transparency. There’s been no change in their formula, no change in practices, no change in warnings. They never released documents to show they’re safe. A consumer has a right to know what they are putting in their body and not be misled.”
When reached for comment, a representative for Monster Energy issued a press release referring to the lawsuits as lacking merit, and pledged to “vigorously defend” against the claims.
“There is no medical or scientific basis to support any causal connection between Monster Energy drinks and the alleged injuries,” a statement from the company reads. “More than 50 billion energy drinks have been sold and safely consumed worldwide for more than 25 years. More than 14 billion Monster Energy drinks have been sold and safely consumed worldwide for more than 13 years.”