A family is suing the Monster Beverage Corp., charging that the caffeine in its energy beverage killed their daughter.
Wendy Crossland and Richard Fournier of Hagerstown, Md., filed a complaint in Riverside County, Calif., where Monster is based, on Wednesday. They charge that their 14-year-old daughter, Anais Fournier, died in December 2011 after drinking two Monster energy drinks within 24 hours.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the complaint details that paramedics transported an unconscious Anais to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where doctors attempted reduce swelling in her brain by inducing a coma. Days later she was taken off life support.
According to her autopsy, Anais died of a cardiac arrhythmia brought on by caffeine toxicity that made it difficult for her heart to pump blood, Yahoo reports. She also had an inherited condition that possibly weakened her blood vessels.
The Fourniers also claim that Monster has not indicated the drinks potential dangers.
Monster does not admits responsibility for Anais’ death and released a statement on the matter on Friday.
"Monster is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks. The Fournier family has chosen to file a lawsuit, which Monster intends to vigorously defend and, in light of such pending litigation, Monster's policy is to not comment further," said spokesman Evan Pondel in the statement.
However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that Monster energy drinks have been cited in at least five deaths over the past year. FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess told Businessweek that the agency has received five reports listing people, now deceased, who consumed Monster energy drinks before dying.
The FDA reports will be used as part of the case against Monster Beverage Corp., and are some of 37 reports filed of adverse reactions to Monster energy drinks since 2004.
State legislators have also taken notice of the dangerous trend.
A tenfold increase in energy drink-related emergency room visits from 2005 to 2009 prompted Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., to push the FDA to instill stricter regulations for the caffeine content of such products.
Burgess told Businessweek that caffeine is one of the many energy drink ingredients under continuous evaluation by the FDA.
Meanwhile, Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST) saw an 8.7 percent drop in its stock today.