Millions of times each week, Americans reach for an energy boost from caffeinated drinks. The caffeinated drink of choice remains coffee, but there is a growing market for “energy shots” and carbonated caffeine-infused energy drinks. The appeal of these drinks is simple: they offer an artificial boost to one’s energy and are often more portable and easy to drink than a cup of coffee. The energy drinks mimic the taste of soda, which makes them familiar and refreshing for many people.
However, it is important to note that these drinks can pose hidden dangers. First and foremost, many of these products are packaged in such a way that they contain two to three times the suggested serving size. Each serving is packed with caffeine, taurine, and other substances at alarming rates, and customers are routinely consuming the entire container in one sitting rather than the single suggested serving. Secondly, the Food and Drug Administration labels these products as “nutritional supplements” rather than ordinary drinks. This distinction is important because ordinary drinks are subject to FDA regulations as to how much of certain substances they can contain per serving. Caffeine is among these substances. By contrast, a nutritional supplement is regulated differently, enabling energy drink manufacturers to pack their drinks with the caffeinated punch their customers want without fearing any penalties from the FDA.
Some recent events may signal changes to these policies, however. About a year ago in Hagerstown, Maryland, a fourteen year old girl named Anais Fournier consumed two containers of the popular Monster brand energy drinks within a twenty four hour period. Approximately two hours after she had consumed the second container of Monster, she fell into cardiac arrest. At the hospital, her family was told that her heart could not withstand the barrage of chemicals contained in the drinks at the rate she consumed them. After all, the “energy” effects of these drinks are really a chemical reaction in the brain that produces heightened cardiovascular functions. The chemical reaction overloaded Anais’ heart and she lapsed into a coma. Six days later, she was taken off life support.
About two weeks ago, Anais’ parents filed a wrongful death and products liability lawsuit in California Superior Court, Riverside against the manufacturer of Monster: Fournier v. Monster Beverage Corporation, Case No. RIC 1215551. The complaint charges that the manufacturer of Monster energy drinks wantonly produced drink products with unreasonably high levels of caffeine, taurine, and other chemicals. It also charges that Anais Fournier’s consumption of Monster energy drink was the proximate cause of her death.
If you or a loved one experienced a medical condition or death that you think may be linked to the consumption of an energy drink, consider contacting a Maryland personal injury attorney for a consultation. Your attorney can help evaluate your case and determine if you have a good chance of recovering money damages for your medical bills, loss of work, and pain and suffering. They can also help you get compensated for the loss of your loved one, if that is the case.
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