Lawsuit: Energy drinks led to stroke

- The makers of Monster energy drinks are apparently headed to court.  Not just one, but five lawsuits have been filed over safety concerns about their products.

In a news conference Monday, attorneys from Morgan & Morgan announced they have filed the first five of more than 100 lawsuits against energy drink companies.  The lawsuit claims that Monster didn't warn their customers about the potential effects of consuming too much caffeine. 

Each 16-ounce can of Monster Energy has 160 mg of caffeine.  Monster doesn't disagree with the amount of caffeine but they say more than 14 billion Monster energy drinks have been sold and safely consumed worldwide for more than 13 years.

Attorneys claim their clients, who range in age from 17 to 43, regularly drink Monster and have come forward saying their energy drinks made them seriously ill.

"The injuries that we're seeing at this point involved both chronic and acute problems," attorney Mike Morgan stated.  "They are heart attacks, strokes, A-fib.  It's also involving something new that we haven't seen before and hasn't been pursued before and that is kidney failure, renal failure in general."

The lawsuit alleges that Monster energy drinks are marketed as products that provide alleged benefits to consumers in the form of increased energy and stamina, weight loss, and enhanced physical and/or mental performance.

This particular lawsuit was filed on behalf of Joel Rine, a 43-year-old who was drinking five to six cans of Monster Energy a day for five years.

"He was out with his friends and he started to have symptoms where he was noticeably under duress," Morgan continued. "There was something noticeably wrong; it was found he was having a stroke at that time."

A stroke that left lasting effects, they say.

"Mr. Rine has suffered from impairments to his vision. He now walks with a limp; his speech has been significantly slurred," attorney Andrew Felix said.  "All things that you don't expect from an otherwise normal, healthy 43-year-old."

Felix says Monster does not give consumers full disclosure of what is really in every can.

"It's not just the caffeine.  It's what Monster and the other competitors in that industry call proprietary blend.  And it's items in there, such as guarana and taurine, that we believe have not been adequately tested.  And synergistically, when you look at all of these combined, it creates a potentially lethal outcome for normal consumers."

Monster Beverage questioned whether the plaintiff had any pre-existing health conditions.  Monster also claims that food and drug agencies around the world have found no safety concerns with the combinations of the ingredients in energy drinks:

In 2012, the FDA stated, "the FDA has yet to identify any safety studies that call into question the safety of combinations of various ingredients added to 'energy drinks' under intended conditions of use."

In 2013, Health Canada found there to be no immediate safety concerns with respect to caffeinated energy drinks.

In 2015, the European Food Safety Authority again confirmed the safety of caffeine in combination with other ingredients commonly found in energy drinks.

Monster says the case has no merit and they will vigorously defend their product.

But these attorneys want monetary relief for their clients and they want the energy drink giants to warn their customers of potential dangers of drinking large amounts of caffeine.

"If an adult can make a decision about alcohol or tobacco, we should have those same similar type of warnings if we know of adverse effects," Morgan added.


- Read the full lawsuit (PDF)
- Read Monster's full response (MS Word)


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