The family of a deceased California teenager is suing Monster Beverage Corporation, claiming that the Monster Energy drinks were an instigating cause in her death.
Anais Fournier, who consumed two Monster Energy drinks in 24 hours, reportedly went into cardiac arrest and died after being taken off life support. Fournier had a condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or mitral valve prolapse, a tissue-weakening disorder that affects approximately one in every 20 Americans. The autopsy also concluded the cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia, caused by excess caffeine that prevented the heart from pumping blood.
The parents of Fournier are suing Monster Beverage Corporation for wrongful death, failure to warn consumers of potential dangers, and negligence in the design, manufacture, and sale of their beverages. The company reacted on Friday, stating, “Monster does not believe that its beverages are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier,” and asserted its adamant defense against any claim of the company’s wrongdoing.
Fournier was known to have drank two 24-ounce Monster Energy beverages on the day of her death, or 480 miligrams of caffeine-- nearly five times the recommended caffeine level by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The problem, unfortunately, is not uncommon; emergency room responses to caffeine overdoses have shot up in recent years, increasing from over 1,000 in 2005 to over 13,000 in 2009.
Still, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the amounts of caffeine in energy drinks-- it is considered a dietary supplement rather than food, like soda-- which renders the consumer completely unaware of his caffeine intake, leading to the possibility of dangerous results.