On October 17, 2012, a California Superior Court lawsuit was filed against Monster Energy (Monster Beverage Corporation) by the parents of Anais Fournier, a 14-year old Maryland teenager who died after drinking one 24 oz. can on December 16, 2011 and then another 24 oz. can the following afternoon. According to court documents, Anais died from cardiac arrhythmia.
In Riverside Superior Court Case No. RIC 1215551, Monster Energy is alleged to be legally responsible for Anais’ death based upon theories of strict product liability (design defect and failure to warn), negligence (design, sell, manufacture and warn), fraudulent concealment, breach of warranties and wrongful death.
According to published reports, lawyers for the Fournier family have alleged that two cans of Monster Energy contain 480 milligrams of caffeine which is equivalent to 14 12-oz. cans of Coke. It is also argued that caffeine can be lethal in doses ranging from 200-400 milligrams. In the asserted causes of action, they allege that the Monster Energy drink is unsafe and the public has not been warned of the risk of harm or death.
Court documents present the argument that from 2004 to 2009, energy drink sales increased 240%. Furthermore, this increase in energy drink sales coincided with an 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.
“Monster is saddened by the untimely passing of Anais Fournier, and its sympathies go out to her family,” reads a statement released by the company. “Monster does not believe that its products are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier and intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit.”
The case was filed in Riverside because the Monster Beverage Corporation’s principal place of business is located in Corona, California.