OAKLAND, Calif. -- The mother of a teenager who died from cardiac arrhythmia last year is blaming his death on Monster Beverage Corp., alleging in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that his death was caused by habitually drinking the company's energy drink, reported the Associated Press.
Alex Morris, 19, went into cardiac arrest on July 1 and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, said the report. The lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court alleges Morris would not have died if he did not drink two cans of Monster's energy drink every day for the three years before his death, including the day he died. Morris' mother, Paula Morris, is listed as a plaintiff in the case.
In a statement provided to CSP Daily News, Monster Beverage said, "There is nothing in this lawsuit that links the death of 19-year-old Alex Morris to the consumption of Monster Energy Drinks. There is no coroner's report cited that suggests his cardiac arrest was caused by drinking a Monster Energy Drink. Instead, the lawsuit admits that Mr. Morris consumed Monster Energy Drinks for years without incident. Simply because Mr. Morris happened to have consumed a Monster Energy Drink or two on the day of his cardiac arrest does not establish any causal connection between the two."
The lawsuit comes after the family of 14-year-old Anais Fournier of Maryland also sued the company last year after she consumed two 24-ounce cans of Monster and died.
"Our allegations in the lawsuits are the same and that's the peoples deaths were caused by these energy drinks and more specifically the defendants failure to warn about the dangers," said Alexander Wheeler, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in both cases.
The company said previously in Fournier's case that no blood test was performed to confirm that the girl died of "caffeine toxicity" as the lawsuit claimed, saying she died of natural causes brought on by pre-existing conditions.
"This lawsuit is yet another example of the how plaintiff lawyers can make any allegation in a lawsuit--regardless of whether or not there is a factual basis for that allegation or allegations," the Monster Beverage statement said. "This lawsuit was filed by the same lawyers who last year filed a suit on behalf of the parents of a Maryland teenager, who blamed her death on the alleged consumption of two Monster Energy Drinks 24 hours apart. In that case, a review of her medical records revealed that there was absolutely no causal connection between Ms. Anais Fournier's death and her consumption of Monster Energy Drinks. In fact, the physicians, including a coroner, who Monster asked to examine Ms. Fournier's medical records and autopsy report found no medical, scientific or factual evidence to support a finding of any caffeine toxicity. No caffeine blood level tests were performed to determine if any caffeine had been ingested and there is no medical or scientific evidence that Ms. Fournier had any caffeine in her system at the time of her cardiac arrest. Here, the same personal injury lawyers are making the same claim which is likewise without merit."
Monster and other energy drinks have faced increased scrutiny in recent months. U.S. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating reports of deaths linked to energy drinks, including five that cite Monster beverages, but the agency noted that the reports do not prove the drinks caused the deaths.
San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera is also suing Monster Beverage for marketing its energy drinks to children, saying the products pose severe health risks.
Monster Beverage's statement added, "Approximately 50 billion energy drinks have been sold and safely consumed worldwide for approximately 25 years. This includes more than nine billion cans of Monster Energy that have been sold and safely consumed over the past 11 years. More than five million Monster energy drinks are sold and safely consumed every single day in 90 countries. Last year, the FDA stated that there is a long history of safe use of products containing caffeine in the U.S. and that the average amount of caffeine consumed by the U.S. population has not increased in spite of the entry of energy drinks into the marketplace. More recently, the FDA has stated that a review of the available caffeine studies did not indicate any new previously unknown risks associated with caffeine consumption."
Corona, Calif.-based Monster Beverage is a marketer and distributor of energy drinks and alternative beverages. It markets and distributes Monster Energy brand energy drinks, Monster Energy Extra Strength Nitrous Technology brand energy drinks, Java Monster brand noncarbonated coffee and energy drinks, X-Presso Monster brand noncarbonated espresso energy drinks, M3 Monster Energy Super Concentrate energy drinks, Monster Rehab non-carbonated energy drinks with electrolytes, Muscle Monster Energy Shakes, Ubermonster energy drinks, Worx Energy shots, and Peace Tea iced teas, as well as Hansen's natural sodas, apple juice and juice blends, multi-vitamin juices, Junior Juice beverages, Blue Sky beverages, Hubert's Lemonades, Vidration vitamin enhanced waters and PRE Probiotic drinks.