The parents of a 14-year-old Maryland girl say Monster Energy drinks killed their daughter.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Anais Fournier’s parents last week alleges, in simple terms, that energy drinks contain a dangerous amount of caffeine, and those high levels of the stimulant killed their daughter.
READ FOR YOURSELF: The lawsuit Fournier's parents filed against Monster Beverage Corporation
“Monster Energy drinks are part of a dangerous yet still growing array of energy drink products in the marketplace,” wrote the attorneys for Fournier’s parents.
The documents filed October 17 say Fournier drank one 24 oz. can of Monster Energy the evening of December 16, 2011, and had another 24 oz. can of Monster Energy the following afternoon. A few hours after having the second can, Fournier went into cardiac arrest. Fournier was placed in a chemically induced coma for six days, before the decision to terminate life support was made.
The attorneys representing her parents allege that two cans of Monster Energy contain 480 milligrams of caffeine.
“Caffeine can be lethal in doses ranging in 200-400 milligrams,” wrote the attorneys for Fournier’s parents.
Fournier’s official cause of death according to court documents was, “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity complicating mitral valve regurgitation in the setting of Ehler-Danlos syndrome.”
The attorneys for Fournier’s parents say Monster’s labeling should warn consumers about the high levels of caffeine contained in the company’s energy drinks.
“The labeling of Monster Energy drinks does nothing to attempt to warn of these severe health risks, as the cans utterly fail to provide adequate information as to the total caffeine content of the product,” wrote the attorneys for Fournier’s parents.
The Fourniers’ attorneys also warn that the energy drink business is growing, meaning more and more people are consuming potentially dangerous levels of caffeine. “From 2004 to 2009, energy drink sales increased 240%. Not surprisingly, this spike in energy drink sales coincided with a reported increase in the number of annual emergency room visits due to caffeine overdose, up from 1,128 in 2005 to 16,055 in 2008, and 13,114 in 2009,” they wrote in court documents.
CNN Money reports that on Monday, Monster's stock dropped 14% after news broke of the lawsuit, and the fact that the company's energy drinks were cited in five deaths reported to the Food and Drug Administration.
In a statement issued Friday, Monster Beverage said it was "saddened" by the death, but pledged to "vigorously defend" itself in court.
"Monster does not believe that its beverages are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier," the company said. "Monster is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks."